German automaker Daimler, a major manufacturer of heavy trucks, has planned to start testing its driverless trucks on the roads at home in Germany as early as this year.
The news comes courtesy of executive board member Wolfgang Bernhard, who spoke to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. “We are positive that we will get approval for tests on German motorways within the next weeks,” executive board member Wolfgang Bernhard was quoted by the diary. “Then we will start immediately.” Bernhard, who leads the manufacturer’s truck business unit, told the paper the company would first start prototype testing of its semi-autonomous trucks in Daimler’s home state Baden-Wuerttemberg – with the start of series production is envisioned just two or three years away. “We are leaders in this technology and will stand up for ourselves,” Bernhard added, also acknowledging that other companies also want to position themselves as early entrants in the fast rising business of autonomous driving.
He added the company was not touched by moves of companies such as Apple to snatch Daimler employees and said these are certain hints the technology giant has recognized the business – autos – is important enough to become part of it. Google, another technology behemoth, has already been testing autonomous cars and expanded its efforts to various locations in the US in an effort to lift information gathering procedures on how the test cars interact with real-world traffic, road conditions and people. Technology companies, automakers and their suppliers have all said the necessary technology to reach commercial utilization for autonomous vehicles would be ready starting with 2020.