Autonomous Future Truck 2025 from Mercedes can forever change the face of the main truck. TopGear received an exclusive invitation to the wheel
“We were inspired by the French group Daft Punk. They live always in helmets so that no one knew what they look like…”
Here is what Mercedes chief designer Bertrand Janssen about the “face” of the new concept, the autonomous truck Future Truck 2025. Rarely in the design of commercial vehicles penetrates the esthetics of French electropop. As pompous phrases like “sensual purity”, as well as skin cream flowers and trees with a porous finish. But Future Truck 2025 is no ordinary truck loaded with pallets and trash.
“It is very clean, absolutely speechless,” – says Jansen, friendly Dutchman with fashionable stubble. His truck instead of the traditional muzzle put on a bizarre mask: 2025 facade dotted with LEDs. In normal use, pulsating white (“beating heart of the machine”) and offline become blue. No headlights and turn signals traditionally. “Lights are not needed because the driver does not need to look at the road – explains Jansen. – The lights serve only to warn others.”
Whether standalone Future Truck 2025 real wagon, without headlights, would certainly not have done. Sometimes at night you need to take control in their hands.
Inside, the same story. This cocoon of expensive leather and wood with numerous HD-displays. You can not say it – cab of the truck. Design boldly denies conventions: clicking on the headrest, you can turn the driver’s seat by 45 ° clockwise – the steering wheel in the interior. But to remove the feet from the pedals and look away from the road is quite difficult. Feel uncomfortable.
However, with the exception of the conceptual beauty in 2025. All very realistic. White body – familiar Actros. Hybrid hydrogen plant is not, instead – a new 12.8-liter 6-cylinder diesel Mercedes capacity of 500 forces, torque 2440 Nm already. “There is no space, – says Georg Stefan Hagemann, head of an innovation. – Similar ideas we can implement in a very short period of time. “
COMPUTERS ARE MUCH BETTER THAN US, UNRELIABLE AND IRRESPONSIBLE FELLOWS
Including systems for autonomous movement. They are all very real and partly taken from the new S-Class. 2025 has already passed the first test on the autobahn, he remarkably rode 80 km / h, smashing cars off the road, turning where necessary and not trying to dive under the bridge is too low.
How does he do it? With many eyes. In the front bumper has a radar near and long range. Last scans a narrow portion of the road 250 meters ahead, with a viewing angle of 18 °, and in the first range wider than 130 °, but the range – of 70 meters.
Stereo camera at the base of the windshield with an overview of 45 ° horizontally and 27 ° vertically gives 3D-images of the road a hundred meters ahead. This camera recognizes not only cars, pedestrians and stationary objects, but also the road markings with signs. On each side of the cabin even radars scanning the entire length of the board in order to avoid “blind spots.” Add to this network V2V (vehicle-vehicle) and V2I (vehicle-infrastructure) and get a truck that can communicate with others vehicles and road structures: bridges, terminals and even the toll road with truck parking.
Many trucks, but nobody beats. Drivers of cars are delighted
But he will not make it out of Minsk in Maidenhead until the carrier napping on a cot. “The truck will follow the driver. That he tacked on and not sleep, – says Hagemann. – If the system does not receive data [that the driver awake], it will score the alarm. If the control and will not be transferred, the 2025 slowly stops on the roadside. By default, the truck will be slavishly sit in the band, and if the pilot wants to overtake, it will have to turn off the autopilot. “
All technologies are tested and working. Cruise control with stereo cameras and radars (including side) will soon appear on the series trucks. So why Mercedes prototype called “2025”, and not, say, “2016”?
The main technical problem – the integration of multiple monitoring systems. All the elements are close to the production stage, but each with its own language. Teach radars, cameras, and wireless systems to understand each other, to build a single detailed picture of everything that surrounds truck – phenomenally difficult task. Hagemann thinks that it will take years.
“If we add further elements, the system can detect weaknesses. We still feel it and experience. And legal issues too much.”
Legal issues – the main obstacle standing in front of autonomous vehicles. Lawyers all over the world now at war with the provisions governing the use of autonomous vehicles, and there is much confusion. New European regulations allow “corrective action steering system” at speeds up to 11 km / h, but not completely autonomous movement. That is why, although the new S-Class and is able to steer, brake and accelerate to maintain position in the stream without human intervention, the driver should hold the steering wheel, or rice-forges provoke a storm of squeaks and buzzes. While international law does not find a way to resolve the fully autonomous vehicles (and foresee the consequences of the first major accident), the technology will remain in standby mode. The delay is caused not by a lack of demand for truckers, says Hagemann.
“The drivers and dispatchers all hands at the idea – he adds. – Errors are costly. ” No wonder the ancient proverb says that the most unreliable gasket – between the wheel and the seat. How would we have any scary thought that a handful of processors and a coil of wires can be controlled with driving in the modern world, the truth is that computers will soon be able to do so much better than us, unreliable and irresponsible fellows. After all, computers do not go away with his head in picking your nose and do not argue with commentators on the radio.
Autonomous vehicle, according to Mercedes, maybe release truckers for other work – for example, logistics management fleet with its 4G-tablet. In a cynical magazine than TopGear, would have written that are exempt from the tedious need to watch the road truckers can find other ways to dispose of their newfound freedom. For example, eating chips and dill.
Such technologies should be interested and us mere mortals. You notice the wagon, but when they get out in the fast lane or create kilometer traffic jams. But on the trucks, according to Ford, kept our continent. A recent survey, which was to determine the effects of the ban trucks in Europe, found that as soon as people stop getting their usual portion of food, drink and magazines TopGear, he quickly overeat, and chaos would reign. If governments do not save a few million kilometers of rails, we need efficient movement of freight transport to the country continued to prosper.
Autonomous trucks, if they do not rebel against humanity and not enslave us, make trucking a much more efficient and free up space on the roads. They will allow trucks to drive faster, closer to each other and in his free time. And truckers, who will be a lot of free time, support the publishing business, buying adult magazines. Although this is the industry almost went digital.