Introducing the Freightliner Inspiration Truck

The Freightliner Inspiration Truck

Innovation is in Our DNA

The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is the first licensed autonomous commercial truck to operate on an open public highway in the United States, a major innovative milestone for the future of the trucking industry.

Freightliner Continues to Set the Industry Standard

When it comes to commercial vehicle design and technology, Freightliner Trucks has been setting the industry standard for nearly 75 years. Whether it’s Freightliner’s introduction of the first all-aluminum cab in 1942 or Freightliner’s industry-leading Cascadia® Evolution today, our inspiration comes from meeting the many challenges that face our customers every day.  

Always Looking Forward

As part of our ongoing effort to define the future of the trucking industry, with the Freightliner Inspiration Truck, Freightliner was the first to license an autonomous commercial truck to operate on an open public highway in the United States.

In addition to the Freightliner Inspiration Truck, other concept vehicles include the Freightliner Cascadia Innovation Truck, the Revolution Innovation Truck and the SuperTruck. These concept vehicles are products of our unwavering commitment to develop the technology of the future that makes today’s trucks the absolute best on the road.

We partner with our customers, creating innovative new technologies that can make owning and operating trucks easier, introducing truck owners to new ways of operating their businesses more efficiently. That’s leadership. Inspiration drives technological leadership, and technological leadership drives customer value.

Autonomous Vehicle Technology

The autonomous vehicle technology showcased in the Freightliner Inspiration Truck will help reduce accidents, improve fuel consumption, cut highway congestion and safeguard the environment. Autonomous vehicle technology is part of Freightliner’s ongoing initiative to lower our customers’ Real Cost of Ownership℠ and deliver the best commercial trucks in the world.

Getting Licensed by the Nevada DMV

Freightliner selected Las Vegas as the location to unveil the Freightliner Inspiration Truck and conduct the first demonstration of a licensed autonomous commercial truck on an open highway in the United States. As one of only four states in the country with laws regulating autonomous vehicle operation, Nevada was the ideal location for Freightliner to showcase what is technologically possible in a regulated environment that sets strict safety standards and establishes various other requirements. 

In Nevada, the testing and operation of autonomous vehicles is regulated legislatively. For commercial trucks, Nevada legislation requires that an autonomous vehicle must have a minimum of 10,000 miles of testing in certain conditions before it can be legally driven in the state.

For the unveiling of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck, Freightliner obtained a special permit from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to operate the automated vehicle on public roads near Las Vegas. Obtaining this special permit required Freightliner to supply state officials with detailed information on the safety systems in the vehicle and the drivers’ training program.

After years of development and testing, at an international media event on May 5, 2015 at the Hoover Dam, the Freightliner Inspiration Truck became the first autonomous commercial vehicle to operate on an open public highway in the United States.

While the Freightliner Inspiration Truck is capable of autonomous operation, an autonomous commercial truck is not a driverless truck; highly-trained CDL drivers will remain in our trucks, and we are dedicated to creating the best-possible experience for them. Ultimately, autonomous operation will make operating a truck safer and more profitable.

A History of Innovation in Commercial Trucking

Freightliner is recognized for breakthrough innovations in commercial vehicle technology that reduce our customers’ Real Cost of Ownership℠. Fleet managers and owner-operators count on Freightliner for efficient, dependable vehicles with some of the most advanced technology available on the market.

Here are some key milestones from Freightliner’s history that showcase our commitment to innovation:

1942: Freightliner is founded, and the Model 600 “Shovelnose” features the industry’s first all-aluminum cab.

1950: Freightliner sells its first transcontinental cab-over-engine sleeper capable of hauling a 35-foot trailer.

1958: Freightliner revolutionizes vehicle servicing with the first 90-degree tilt cab, giving mechanics easy access for engine maintenance.

1965: Powered by a Boeing model 553 gas turbine, the Freightliner Turboliner weighs 2,400 pounds less than a similar truck with a diesel engine.

1973: Freightliner introduces its flagship Powerline, a truck with a massive 2,000-square-inch radiator and 600-horsepower engine.

1987: The FLD is introduced and is Freightliner’s first aerodynamic conventional tractor.

1989: Freightliner’s proprietary AirLiner suspension gives drivers a new level of comfort.

1995: The Freightliner Century Class offers technological breakthroughs that improve fuel economy, increase payload, enhance driver safety and increase productivity.

1999: Freightliner Trucks introduces the Century Class S/T (Safety/Technology) vehicle, a major product upgrade, adding numerous standard safety and technology features.

2000: The aerodynamic Columbia reduces wind resistance and provides excellent fuel economy, along with a lightweight design.

2004: Freightliner builds the first, and still the only, full-scale wind tunnel owned and operated by a North American truck manufacturer.

2007: The Freightliner Cascadia debuts, incorporating a range of new aerodynamic, lightweight and maintenance-reducing features. The Detroit DD15® engine, a lighter-weight engine that reduces parasitic loss to boost fuel efficiency, is introduced.

2011: Detroit Virtual Technician onboard diagnostic system is launched and made standard in all Freightliner Cascadia truck models.

2012: The Freightliner Cascadia Evolution truck is introduced, setting a new standard for reducing Real Cost of Ownership℠.

2013: Detroit Connect is introduced, offering fleets a suite of advanced telematics features.

2014: The Detroit Assurance™ suite of safety systems, linking the engine, transmission and braking systems to radar and camera sensors, is introduced. The integrated Detroit™ Powertrain is introduced, offering engine, transmission and axles engineered and designed to work together.

2015: The Freightliner SuperTruck is unveiled at the Mid-America Trucking Show, smashing a goal set by the U.S. Department of Energy by increasing freight hauling efficiency by 115 percent. The Freightliner Inspiration Truck becomes the first licensed commercial truck to operate in autonomous vehicle mode on open public highways in the United States.

Technology That Inspires

Safer, More Efficient Commercial Trucks

While operating in autonomous mode is an incredible engineering achievement, for Freightliner, building the Inspiration Truck is about leading the trucking industry in cutting-edge safety, efficiency and connectivity technologies.

Highway Pilot

Highway Pilot links together sophisticated camera and radar technology with systems providing lane stability, collision avoidance, speed control, braking, steering and an advanced dash display to allow for safe autonomous operation on public highways.

Radar and Camera Systems

The radar unit in the center area of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck front bumper scans the road ahead at long and short range. The long-range radar, with a range of 820 feet and scanning an 18-degree segment, looks for vehicles ahead. The short-range radar, with a range of 230 feet and scanning a 130-degree segment, looks wider to see vehicles that might cut in front of the truck.

The area ahead is scanned by a stereo camera located behind the Freightliner Inspiration Truck windscreen. The range of the camera is 328 feet, and it scans an area of 45-degrees horizontal by 27-degrees vertical. For autonomous lane guidance, the camera recognizes lane markings and communicates to the Highway Pilot steering gear.

The front radar unit is the basis for the Active Cruise Control and Active Brake Assist available in the Detroit Assurance suite of safety systems on the series production Freightliner Cascadia® Evolution.

Adaptive Cruise Control

The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control PLUS (ACC+). ACC+ has the standard hardware and software used in series production vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz Actros; however, it has modified software specific to the AV application.

Combining active cruise and distance control functions, ACC+ has the ability to stop and move the vehicle without driver interaction. Simply put, the Freightliner Inspiration Truck can control distance and speed across a range from zero MPH up to the vehicle’s maximum speed.

Connectivity

We want to be the driver’s partner in improving safety and fuel efficiency. With a state-of-the-art dash interface, connectivity in the Freightliner Inspiration Truck is key to a great driver experience, making a drastic improvement in the way data from the truck’s performance is communicated to the driver.

Highway Pilot uses visual cues to inform the driver of its current status and also accepts commands from the driver. Additionally, video displays inside the truck are capable of replacing exterior mirrors entirely. Eliminating exterior mirrors boosts fuel efficiency by up to 1.5 percent and greatly reduces the truck’s blind spots.

With the safety features of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck, drivers can optimize their time on the road by utilizing Detroit Connect to handle other important logistical tasks, from logging to routing. The technology contributes to improved safety and efficiency, while allowing for improved communication through connectivity and integration.

A Technological Leap Forward

Autonomous Vehicle Technological Benefits

The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is an innovative example of Freightliner’s constant quest to reduce Real Cost of Ownership for trucking companies.

Freightliner works to partner with customers to overcome industry challenges. For Freightliner, investing our resources into new safety and fuel efficiency technologies is actually an investment in our customers.

Benefits of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck:

Freightliner Inspiration Truck: The First Licensed Autonomous Truck

Connectivity

Safety

Efficiency