Meet the Future: Freightliner unveils U.S.-legal autonomous truck

Updated May 7, 2015
Freightliner Inspiration unveiled in Las Vegas today

Freightliner did it.

If you’re one of the many in trucking who scoffed at the idea of a commercially-viable self-driving truck, or at best figured such technology was years — if not decades — away, you need to reset your expectations.

At a press event today at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway outside Las Vegas, NV, Freightliner, in conjunction with the State of Nevada and its governor, Brian Sandovall, launched the Inspiration, a new, autonomous truck. The truck is commercially viable. But more importantly, thanks to legislative steps taken by Nevada, it is completely legal to operate Nevada highways.

The Inspiration is not yet available for purchase and is still in its testing phase. But it will no longer be relegated to test-tracks and cordoned-off test roads. This truck will run in, mix with, cruise with public traffic all throughout the state of Nevada as Freightliner engineers test its capabilities and refine its operating parameters.

The conventional wisdom in trucking was that Europe would be the proving ground for autonomous truck technology and development. But Martin Daum, CEO Daimler Trucks, said Nevada’s bold move prompted Freightliner to aggressively target North America as the new autonomous truck frontier. That decision ultimately led to this event in Las Vegas today — the single largest, and most expensive press launch in Daimler’s entire 100-plus year history.

Details on the Inspiration model are still scarce and more information will be revealed over the next day or two as the event unfolds.

Also, Freightliner communications manager David Giroux will appear on ABC’s Good Morning America, tomorrow (May 6) with a live report from Las Vegas and additional Inspiration details and news.