On a motorway in southern Germany, Daimler tested its self-driving truck under real traffic conditions for the first time on Oct. 2

While the truck is equipped with smart systems including radar, cameras and active speed regulators and works without a human driver, someone has to be in the driver's seat and take the wheel if necessary.

"Today's premiere is a further important step towards the market maturity of autonomously driving trucks-–and towards the safe, sustainable road freight transport of the future," said Wolfgang Bernhard, board member responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses.

The truck in Friday's trial, the world's first series-production autonomous truck, drove between Stuttgart and the town of Denkendorf in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, where Daimler is headquartered.The standard Mercedes-Benz Actros, fitted with the intelligent "Highway Pilot" system, traveled about nine miles on the A8 motorway, with a driver in the cabin but his hands off the wheel.

Daimler compared the Highway Pilot to a plane's autopilot. It is able to steer the truck by itself, while the driver "retains full responsibility, needs to monitor the traffic at all times and must be able to intervene at any time."

More on the self-driving truck on IndustryWeek.

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