Daimler: Don’t expect driverless trucks anytime soon

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Driverless trucks are coming, just not anytime soon, according to Daimler Trucks North America CEO Martin Daum.

Daum, who recently participated in a 25-mile driverless road test, said autonomous vehicle technology is akin to NASA’s lunar missions and that he doesn’t expect driverless big rigs to hit the road during his professional lifetime, according to the Pudget Sound Business Journal.

Daum’s comments on high tech came Thursday at a Puget Sound Business Journal live event in Bellevue, Oregon. Daum, 56, said autonomous tech is good at improving fuel efficiency through accelerating and braking.

However, challenges remain in improving the technology to account for sudden and sometimes subtle changes along a two-way road. For instance, sensors need to be able to distinguish between a person and a large tree branch along the shoulder of the road and compensate accordingly.

“If you have a couple of inches (between you) and oncoming traffic, that changes everything,” Daum said.