Nevada has given Daimler AG, the world's biggest truck maker, the go-ahead to test its self-driving heavy freight truck for the first time on the open road in ordinary traffic, the two sides announced on Tuesday (6 May).
Daimler has previously shown off its prototype autonomous truck in Europe on a closed section of German autobahn. The truck maker says self-driving, or autonomous, trucks will help freight companies save money on fuel and increase safety on the roads.
In order for Daimler to get the nod from Nevada, the truck, which will be under its Freightliner brand, underwent 10,000 miles of testing. The vehicle will now undergo testing under real road conditions.
Daimler, which with its Mercedes brand has been at the forefront of German efforts to counter Google's advances in driverless cars, says it sees at least as much potential for automation in freight transportation.
Daimler is also not alone in pushing automation technology for heavy-duty trucks. Sweden's Scania, a unit of Volkswagen, is among peers working on "platooning" technology that allows several trucks to travel in tight convoy with a sole human driver in the lead vehicle.
Daimler has previously said its truck model still requires human oversight while freeing the driver to perform back-office tasks such as handling bookings and billing, or planning future itineraries.