The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 is how Stuttgart’s brand with the star envisions its professional long-distance trucks of the next decade.
Scheduled for a world premiere at this week’s 2014 International Commercial Vehicle show (IAA) in Hannover, Germany, the Future Truck 2025 comes with a plethora of technological advancements in a number of different fields.
One of the study’s main highlights is the autonomous driving system that was actually tested at speeds of up to 80 km/h (50mph) on a prototype model in realistic traffic conditions this summer on a section of the A14 motorway in Magdeburg, Germany.
Mercedes says the system works independently of traffic, with the truck adapting its speed “within the permitted limit and maintaining a set safety distance” from any vehicle travelling ahead.
The concept uses a multitude of radar sensors scanning the road ahead and around the vehicle, constantly feeding information to all of its electronic nannies, including the Blind Spot Assist system that warns the truck driver about other road users when turning as well as about imminent collisions with stationary obstacles.
We don’t know how we should take Mercedes’ statement that, thanks to all of these systems, “in the future, accidents caused by human error will therefore be largely a thing of the past. Safety regulations such as speed limits or safety gaps between vehicles will always be strictly adhered to”.
Not only that, but Mercedes predicts that our cars and trucks will communicate between themselves in the near future:
“Communication between vehicles is also standardised. The range of these continuous sent messages is a radius of around 500 m. The vehicles inform each other about their movements, so that they can respond to them immediately in anticipatory mode. This includes reacting to vehicles joining a motorway, or when approaching the end of a traffic tailback, for example. The more vehicles are communicating with each other on these routes, the more dynamically and flexibly they are able to respond to one another and together.”
“In an ideal scenario, an uninterrupted chain of communication forms along a route that rigorously informs the driver and vehicle about road and traffic conditions a long way ahead on their journey.”
Moving to the design front, the Future Truck 2025 has soft, slightly curved surfaces on the body. While it may seem at first that there are no lights, once the engine starts, LED bulbs illuminate the front end. When the driver selects the autonomous system, the color of the lights change from white to blue.
The flowing, minimalistic design theme continues inside the cabin that comes with a captain’s seat and a first class-like passenger seat in this configuration, with the driver having four display screens in his disposal, two for the exterior cameras that replace the conventional door mirrors, one for the instrument panel and a Samsung tablet on the center console.