Freightliner Introduces Semi-Autonomous Cascadia
New year, new Cascadia. It’s pretty hard to imagine how Freightliner could keep improving their spectacularly successful Cascadia. And, yet, they’ve gone and done it again. The Freightliner New Cascadia, officially unveiled in January, puts automated truck technology in the driver’s seat. Literally.
This newest Cascadia can accelerate, brake, and steer all by itself.
Big changes indeed, thanks to big investment
Over the past few years, Daimler has spent close to $600 million developing and honing autonomous technologies, culminating in the 2020 Freightliner Level 2 semi-automated truck. Attendees at this winter’s famed Consumer Electronics Show (CES) got a track-side seat as the truck was put through its paces at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
For those of you who weren’t able to attend, here’s what the Freightliner New Cascadia is all about. First, let’s be clear that the truck may be “automated,” but it is not meant to operate or able to operate entirely without a human driver. We aren’t there quite yet.
Meanwhile, this new truck can indeed steer, accelerate, and decelerate on its own, if necessary, within any speed range. The proprietary automated technology includes four features that Freightliner says will combine to make a driver’s work easier and safer:
- Active lane assist
- Active brake assist
- Side guard assist
- Adaptive cruise control
Greater safety is smart
Human error is responsible for 94% of crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The new Cascadia’s ability to assist drivers can decrease the risk of human error, thereby helping reduce the number of accidents as well as the severity of accidents. The NHTSA says the technology could even save lives.
Save money on fuel, too
In case increasing driver comfort, performance, and safety weren’t enough, the new Cascadia is also one third more fuel-efficient than the first Cascadia introduced by Freightliner 12 years ago.
You can’t step into the cab just yet
The Freightliner New Cascadia is designated as a model year 2020, and the truck goes into production this July, so by the time 2020 rolls around you could be rolling down the highway in this latest innovation. And if SAE Level 2 (semi-automated operation) isn’t innovative enough for you, you can always hold for an SAE Level 4 (fully autonomous) truck. Freightliner hopes to have those in production within the next 10 years.