Self-driving trucks (and Jean-Claude Van Damme)

Image courtesy Engadget

Image courtesy Engadget

Every time I see pictures of trucks these days I can't help think of the Volvo ad with Jean-Claude Van Damme doing splits in mid air. On the face of it this is a good thing, since it makes trucks suddenly seem a whole lot more interesting. On the flipside it means every time a 16 wheeler barrels past me on the highway I'm left with the unfortunate after-image of JCVD's make-up caked face leering at me in my imagination. 

Anyway... I digress. Spotted this really interesting piece of news about Mercedes' new plans to develop a semi-autonomous truck. Seems that Google and Volvo's efforts in the area of autonomous vehicles are starting to filter into the wider motor industry. Apparently, they've just performed a demonstration of what they're calling Future Truck 2025, a combination of radar and stereo cameras keep the machine on the right course once it's up to speed, freeing the driver to check up on the family or get work done. It can optionally talk to other vehicles to anticipate upcoming construction or traffic jams, and it's smart enough to get out of the way if an ambulance comes speeding by. According to the press release, " Autonomous driving with long-distance trucks will be a reality in ten years time."

In the meantime... thank god we have Jean-Claude.