Daimler to test self-driving trucks

German carmaker Daimler is planning to test self-driving trucks as early as this year, according to executive board member Wolfgang Bernhard.

He told a German newspaper, ‘We are positive that we will get approval for tests on German motorways within the next weeks,’ Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung quoted him as saying. ‘Then we will start immediately.’

First tests of semi-autonomous trucks will take place in Daimler’s home state Baden-Wuerttemberg while the start of production is two to three years away, Bernhard, who is in charge of Daimler’s trucks business, told the paper.

Wolfgang continued, ‘We are leaders in this technology and will stand up for ourselves,’ acknowledging that Apple, Google and other companies were trying to position themselves in the promising business of autonomous driving.’

He said that Daimler was unfazed by moves of companies like Apple to poach Daimler employees. ‘That is a clear sign of recognition if Apple decides that your business and or cars are so important to them that they want to be part of it.’

Car manufacturers and tech companies/suppliers have said the technology to build self-driving cars should be ready for public roads by 2020.