For those not paying attention, this has totally come out of nowhere: yesterday, Nevada awarded an autonomous license plate to its first commercial truck: Freightliner's Inspiration.
Daimler chose Nevada as the launch platform as it's one of just four states, plus the District of Columbia, that have laws regarding autonomous vehicle operation. It's not said what this first truck's workload will entail, but because of the laws in surrounding states, it seems its range will be restricted to Nevada for the time-being.
The Freightliner Inspiration Truck is classified as a Level 3 autonomous vehicle — the same classification as Google’s autonomous Toyota Prius and Lexus RX 450h self-driving vehicles. “The autonomous vehicle system is responsible for maintaining legal speed, staying in the selected lane, keeping a safe braking distance from other vehicles, and slowing or stopping the vehicle based on traffic and road conditions,” said Freightliner. “The vehicle monitors changes in conditions that require transition back to driver control when necessary in highway settings. The driver is in control of the vehicle for exiting the highway, on local roads and in docking for making deliveries.”
The benefits of an autonomous transport truck are broad. One of the biggest ones is that it will reduce accidents. Further, it will also help reduce overall cost, as well as improve fuel consumption. The official site linked below is filled to the brim with information on the Inspiration, including a neat timeline that shows how far Freightliner has come in its 70 years of operation.