User-agent: Mediapartners-Google* Disallow: Trucks World News: DAIMLER'S TRUCK STORY * Germany - 1896: The first one - 2017: Autonomous trucks
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Oct 31, 2016

DAIMLER'S TRUCK STORY * Germany - 1896: The first one - 2017: Autonomous trucks

(Photo: 1896, world first truck build by Gottlieb Daimler)

--- Back in 1896, Mr Gottlieb Daimler built the world's first truck. The production record reads: "Motorised goods vehicle, order no. 81, vehicle no. 42, four hp two-cylinder engine, weight of the complete vehicle: 1200 kilograms for carrying a load of 1500 kilograms, invoiced to British Motor Syndicate Ltd, London”... The tray-top 4x2, which could only optimistically be called basic, sacrificed any pretence of safety for pure function... The driver sat in an open cockpit. Steering was a straight up tube acting on a chain that turned the entire axle assembly... That eliminated the need for steering geometry. Wooden blocks acted on the steel rear-wheel rims for braking, and drive was straight from the 1.1-litre engine to an open gear mounted on each back wheel...


(Photo: 22 March 2016: Daimler demonstrates autonomous truck platooning; Highway Pilot Connect delivers)

--- In 120 years the progress has been dramatic, but most has occurred in the last couple of decades... A tsunami of electronic control systems have accompanied the explosion of digital technology, allowing engines, transmission and other truck systems to make microscopic adjustments hundreds of times a second to optimise performance... Some are passive, such as good vision, including cameras, airbags including new curtain units, soft materials, and less switches with a shift towards digital controls. But other are set to actively intervene when a driver loses attention - a little or a lot... For example, it is now almost common on long-distance rigs to have lane departure warning system scanning the road constantly... They vibrate the steering wheel, sound an alarm and in some cases introduce gentle pressure on the wheel to nudge you back in the lane... Blind spot assist, seatbelt pre-tensioning, brake pre-application and rain-sensing wipers all work in the background to optimise a driver's ability to stay out of strife and in control, protecting other road users and the security of the payload... My favourite has to be adaptive cruise control, and I've got used to using it constantly when I'm in a truck with the system installed. It can be a little disconcerting to feel a truck behaving as if someone else is driving it, although in effect that's exactly what's happening... But once you've mastered the adjustment of following distance to your comfort level, you really can enjoy the ride... Connected to most adaptive cruise systems is collision avoidance technology. It senses an unhealthy closing speed and goes through stages of warning alarm, flashing lights, gentle brake application, and eventually full brakes to avoid or minimise an impact... Auxiliary brake blending and stability control are all becoming standard fare as safety becomes more of an expectation rather than an aspiration... These systems are the precursors to fully autonomous driving. Getting used to the current systems is a good way of preparing for the future...

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