The autonomously driving truck was presented at the 65th International Motor Show for commercial vehicles in Hanover, Germany and demonstrates the result of the company R&D and vision for the future of long distance traffic.
The most distinctive feature of the futuristi-looking truck is the “Highway Pilot”, an autonomous driving system for speeds up to 80 km/h – which was tested in realistic traffic situations on a section of the A14 motorway in Magdeburg, Germany on last July.
The system features several radar sensors and camera technology that register all moving and stationary objects in the truck’s vicinity.
The sensor and camera technology is active from standstill to the legally permitted maximum speed for trucks. By intervening in the steering, it automatically keeps the truck safely in the centre of its lane.
The system is coupled with a V2V and V2I technology – communication between vehicles and the outside world via WLAN technology.
It also includes a three-dimensional digital map, as is already currently used for the assistance system Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC). This means that the truck is always aware of the road’s course and topography, with a resulting positive effect on fuel consumption.
A new feature in the Future Truck 2025 is Blind Spot Assist, which Daimler will bring into series in the coming years. Radar sensors monitor the sides of the truck and alert the driver to the presence of other road users to either side of the vehicle who may not be immediately visible.
The exterior design reflects the advanced technological content by adopting futuristic, sleek line, while the autonomous nature of the vehicle is underlined by a LED lighting system that makes it “comes to life”.
To improve aerodynamic efficiency, the conventional large side mirrors have been replaced by smaller rear view cameras.
The surface treatment made of soft, slightly curved shapes that are near-natural represent both efficiency and emotion.
The designers have leveraged the opportunity presented by future length specifications: extending the front section allows soft, aerodynamically flowing forms to be created. Visual effects from the paintwork in light silver emphasise the enticingly smooth contours. Its windscreen resembles a visor.
The study’s integral sun screen and aero roof have a distinctive form.Featuring signature Mercedes-Benz style, the design is composed around the star as the central element. Looking practically seamless and as if made of one piece, the cab exudes maximum calm.
Its plain yet powerful appearance lends it an imposing monolithic air. While at a standstill with the engine switched off the front mask is closed.
Classic elements such as the headlamps seem to be missing at first glance. When the engine starts LEDs illuminate the surfaces and light up the paintwor, and the front mask gleams and LED bulbs shine instead of conventional headlamps to the left and right in the bumper. Orange flashing lights indicate when the truck is changing direction.
When the fully drivable study is being controlled manually and on the move, the lights are white. When the truck is driving autonomously, the colour of the lights changes from white to blue.
They then pulsate strongly, thus symbolising the truck’s powerful heartbeat and clearly indicating the vehicle’s current operating mode to other road users.Interior Design The interior aims at providing the driver a space in which to work and relax.
Displays replace instruments, a touchpad the conventional array of switches. During autonomous driving phases the driver’s seat, which can be swivelled by 45 degrees, becomes an office chair or even an easy chair, from which the driver can perform other tasks.
To communicate from this workplace of the future during autonomous driving phases the driver uses a tablet computer.
The Highway Pilot System
A radar sensor in the lower area of the front end scans the road ahead at long and short range. The front radar sensor has a range of 250 m and scans an 18-degree segment. The short-range sensor has a range of 70 m and scans a 130-degree segment.
The radar sensor is the basis for the proximity control and emergency braking safety systems already available today.
A stereo camera installed above the instrument support behind the windscreen keeps the area ahead of the vehicle in view. This is currently the location of a mono-camera if optional Lane Keeping Assist is ordered. The range of the stereo camera is 100 m, and it scans an area of 45 degrees horizontally and 27 degrees vertically.
The stereo camera of the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 identifies single- or two-lane roads, pedestrians, moving and stationary objects, all objects within the monitored area and also the road surface.
The camera recognises everything that contrasts with the background, and is therefore also able to measure clearances precisely. The front stereo camera also registers the information on traffic signs.
In addition to object and distance recognition, the stereo camera recognises lane markings as a major function for autonomous lane guidance.
The road surface to the left and right of the truck is monitored by radar sensors installed in the sides. They are located on the left and right, ahead of the tractor unit’s rear axle. The sensors have a range of 60 m and cover an angle of 170 degrees in the longitudinal direction.