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Faster, cheaper, safer? Sharing your road with self-driving big rigs

Faster, cheaper, safer? Sharing your road with self-driving big rigs
photo courtesy of shutterstock

You know that feeling when a huge big rig drives up next to you in traffic, the tires taller than your car windows? You just hope the driver sees you and stays in his lane. Well how would you feel if that huge truck had no driver at all? The future of self-driving vehicles might be with the trucks that stock our stores and deliver our freight. And this is a really big deal.

Self-driving cars are already a big story. They promise to make the roads safer, commutes faster and reduce driver stress. I'm all for that.

Click here for the latest news on self-driving cars.

However, there's one vehicle that could benefit even more from self-driving technology: The semi truck.

Nearly 70% of the freight in the U.S. is carried on trucks and those cover almost 400 billion miles of U.S. roadways a year.

Most of that driving is long, long hours on boring highways. That long-term concentration takes a serious toll on truck drivers. For comparison, just the five-hour drive between my Phoenix home and California's beaches is more than enough for me and I'm traveling in a comfortable car with all the creature comforts. Transportation regulations allow long-haul truck drivers up to 11 hours behind the wheel.

What if they could kick back and relax while the truck did the boring work for them? That's Mercedes-Benz' plan with the Future Truck 2025. And its interior might also be a clue about how future self-driving car interiors might look.

Next page: The future
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