At a recent industry event, Daimler Trucks North America, owner of the Freightliner brand took time to reassure drivers about their new autonomous driving technology. Diane Hames, general manager of DTNA, said that driverless trucks aren’t there to replace drivers, and claimed that they will actually make driver’s lives easier.
It appears that Freightliner may be worried that drivers won’t take too kindly to being replaced by machines, and rightly so. Trucking is a hard job that consists of far more than just holding a steering wheel, and many drivers here on the forums at TruckersReport have expressed their doubts that a machine will ever be able to do everything that they do.
At the press conference, Freightliner was quick to agree, saying that the goal is to aid drivers and is in no way meant to replace them.
“We’re really focused on safety with this, and I think that has been obscured by the ‘driverless’ factor that the mainstream press took,” said Hames.
According to DNTA, that safety comes from the truck being better at certain things than drivers. But they’re quick to point out that that’s not the drivers’ fault. She said to think of the truck’s features as “bionics for drivers.”
“You start with the human eye, but they can see only so much,” said Hames. “Then you add cameras and radar to that.”
“This technology is not about getting rid of drivers,” she added, “but taking away the tedium of driving on the highway for hours at a time so the job is less tiring.”