No, we're not going to explain the Highway-Pilot again here. You can find enough information about it here. Perhaps just a few further words: One can justifiably be curious, when a truck of this size, will be driving itself autonomously through the towns and e.g., how it will manage, with its trailer, to get around the tight corners without scrapping the traffic-lights.
First of all, let's go to that which is expected: The wide-reaching truck rear-view mirrors have disappeared, replaced by really small camera-systems. It's amusing that, monitors the size of the mirrors, are offset-mounted in such a way, that they can be seen from the driver's seat. Now all together, an all-round supervision of everything that could find itself under one of the axles and a warning is possible.If the engine is switched off and the LED's don't shine through the carbon bodywork, it doesn't appear imposing at all, almost dainty. From the outside, one can't actually see just how roomy the enlarged interior is. When it's moving, the exterior also comes to life, shing white with driver participation, and blue when in autonomous operation.
Apparently, for the future, they are contemplating a lengthening of the front-end, which would mean another one to two square meters of interior-space. Because of the gently curved shape however, it appears to be hardly larger. The joints, which are similar to those in motor cars and the bright spray-job does the rest. Indeed, there's one thing that we'll still have to get used to, and that is the lack of 'eyes'.
We've already become accustomed to previous top-of-the-range trucks (e.g., those having V8-engines) being fitted out like a leather lounge-suite. In the Future-Truck it will be lighter, more exhilarating and with more flowing lines. Indeed, whether or not it should be wooden panelled from the floor to the dashboard, remains to be seen in the sales-talks.
They don't want to quite create the sitting room atmosphere in the Future Truck, even though there are pictures hanging on the back wall. What they want to suggest, is a paperless office with the suitably placed monitors. The pictures at the back could be family photos, after all, despite it having the feeling of being an office, what they don't want is, that the driver orientates him/herself (also during autonomous phases) too much to the rear.
Although the seat has been placed at the rear and turned into the cabin at an angle of 45°, and a tablet PC has been readily placed in the dashboard, one must still be prepared, at any time, to take control, otherwise, after a while the whole set-up will, be slightly offset on the right-hand motorway lane and standing still, not really an encouraging thought.
One of the by-products of autonomous driving and the cameras instead of mirrors, is apart from the 360° visibility, the blind-spot assistant, which doesn't only warn the driver when a road user is in the blind-spot but also when there is an obstacle in the way, which could endanger any further driving. 10/14