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Daimler’s Autonomous Electric Freightliner eCascadia Hints At The Future

Daimler Truck has unveiled an autonomous semi, which hints at a production model due by 2027

 Daimler’s Autonomous Electric Freightliner eCascadia Hints At The Future

  • Daimler Truck has unveiled a Freightliner eCascadia with a Level 4 autonomous driving system.
  • It previews a future where goods could be shipped without drivers or emissions.
  • A production Level 4 semi is due in the coming years.

America is experiencing a truck driver shortage, but help is on the way as Daimler Truck aims to offer an autonomous semi by 2027. That would be a game changing development as the Level 4 vehicle wouldn’t need a human driver when operating under certain conditions.

While that’s still a ways off, the company is giving us a glimpse into the future with an autonomous Freightliner eCascadia technology demonstrator. As the name suggests, the prototype is based on the electric eCascadia and comes equipped with autonomous driving technology from Torc Robotics, which is “Daimler Truck’s independent subsidiary for autonomous virtual driver technology.”

More: Kodiak’s Latest Autonomous Semi Sports New Sensors And Improved Reliability

The company was coy on specifics, but said the technology demonstrator was designed to have “many commonalities” with the production eCascadia. That particular model is a Class 8 truck, which offers 291 and 438 kWh battery packs. They enable the semi to travel between 155 and 230 miles (249 and 370 km) on a single charge.

While the company didn’t say which powertrain the prototype has, it features a sensor bar with cameras as well as lidar and radar sensors. The bar is mounted high-up on the vehicle and this helps to improve aerodynamic performance, protect the sensors, and help prevent “soiling.”

Additional sensors are mounted further below and Daimler said the demonstrator has four extra 12-volt batteries to “ensure uninterrupted operation” as well as increased safety. The model has also been outfitted with a compute stack, which is located between the seats and uses a prototype air-cooling concept.

The model is envisioned to be used on short, repeatable routes that have charging infrastructure. Daimler added that while this is “still a research and advanced engineering project, the autonomous vehicle has the potential to evolve into a modular, scalable platform that is propulsion agnostic for flexible use in different trucking applications.”

Daimler Truck North America CEO John O’Leary said “By combining zero-emission and autonomous technologies in one product, we are testing solutions for challenges our customers are likely to face in the future. We want to give them choices that allow them to do what they do best: keep the world moving today and well into the future.” That being said, the company’s first autonomous trucks are slated to use conventional powertrains.

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