Autonomous Trucks & Insurance

Freightliner Inspiration Truck unveiled at Hoover Dam. First licensed autonomous commercial truck to drive on U.S. public highway (PRNewsFoto/Daimler Trucks North America LLC)

According to Property Casualty 360 Nevada’s governor officially issued (and attached) the first license plate for an autonomous commercial truck at a ceremony in Las Vegas on May 5th.
The 18-wheeler is equipped with a “sophisticated set of cameras technology and radar systems with lane stability, collision avoidance, speed control, braking, steering and other monitoring systems.”

My definition of autonomous is ‘no driver’ but reading through the article in Property Casualty 360 I see that it is really an auto-pilot system:

the truck enables the driver to cede full control of all safety-critical functions under certain traffic or environmental conditions. The autonomous vehicle system is responsible for maintaining legal speed, staying in the selected lane, keeping a safe braking distance from other vehicles, and slowing or stopping the vehicle based on traffic and road conditions. The vehicle monitors changes in conditions that require transition back to driver control when necessary in highway settings. The driver is in control of the vehicle for exiting the highway, on local roads and in docking for making deliveries.

Does the idea of (semi-)autonomous 18-wheelers rolling down the road sound a little scary? How easy would it be for a driver to ‘rest his eyes’ while the truck is in control?

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