Three autonomous Mercedes-Benz lorries have driven in convoy between Germany and the Netherlands for the European Truck Platooning Challenge
11 April 2016

Daimler has trialled three autonomous Mercedes-Benz lorries on public roads from Germany to the Netherlands in an attempt to promote platooning.

The lorries, all Mercedes-Benz Actros, were fitted with Daimler’s Highway Pilot Connect system, which pairs the trucks together using vehicle-to-vehicle technology. This allows the leading truck to deliver a continuous stream of information to the other vehicles through a wi-fi connection.

An array of cameras and sensors allow the trucks to avoid obstacles in the road and even perform an emergency stop. Daimler claims that these systems reduce the reaction time to less than one tenth of a second, down from 1.4 seconds for a human driver.

At least two lorries are needed to start the autonomous platoon, with the first truck in the queue dictating the speed. Unlike lorries driven by a human, which are required to drive at least 50m apart, Daimler says its autonomous lorries can safely run with just 15m between them.

The test was backed by the Dutch government, which has recently shown support for the banning of petrol and diesel powered vehicles.

Last month, the UK’s chancellor George Osborne outlined plans to trial fully autonomous vehicles on UK roads by 2017, with the Department of Transport saying that autonomous lorries will be tested on UK roads later this year. It is not yet known if Daimler’s vehicles will make it to the UK during their development.

Cameron Tait

Join the debate


12 April 2016
"The test was backed by the Dutch government, which has recently shown support for the banning of petrol and diesel powered vehicles."

And this is relevant because.......



It's all about the twisties........

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again
  • Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer
    First Drive
    13 October 2017
    Off-road estate is now bigger, more spacious and available with torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, but is it enough to make its German rivals anxious?