CES 2019: Mercedes-Benz invests a fortune in self-driving trucks

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The Las Vegas electronics trade fair is now a must for car manufacturers. At CES 2019, Daimler AG’s Commercial Vehicle Division has announced that it will spend EUR 500 million on developing Level 4 autonomous driving trucks.

Daimler is present in North America through the Freightleiner badge. The most popular large tractor of the brand, Cascadia, will become the first truck in the US which offers Level 2 autonomous driving capabilities. The Active Drive Assist/Detroit Assurance 5.0 with Active Lane Assist system combines the data collected by the on-board radar and cameras to give the Cascadia the ability to independently brake, accelerate and steer, essentially taking over the duties of the driver.

However, this is only intended as an initial step: the goal Daimler has set is to achieve the fourth degree on the five-level autonomous driving scale. This is the last level where a driver is still needed, but only to solve very complicated traffic situations that artificial intelligence (still) cannot cope with.

In order to accelerate the development of self-driving trucks, a new development center in Portland, Oregon is also being set up: Automated Truck Research & Developement Center employs over two hundred engineers in the region. Daimler says the level 4 autonomous driving systems will enter series production in the next decade.