Mercedes' semi-autonomous truck lets its driver relax on the highway

If you've ever driven a highway on a major trip, you know how monotonous it can get -- and it only gets worse for big rig operators, who may spend every day on those uneventful roads. Mercedes-Benz may eventually let those long-haul drivers make better use of their time, though. It just recently demonstrated Future Truck 2025, a semi-autonomous concept vehicle that takes the reins on the highway. 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.

As the name implies, Mercedes doesn't see its hardware entering production for roughly a decade. However, that's definitely a realistic goal; some of the underlying technology is already in the 2014 S-Class sedan. Future Truck isn't as ambitious as something like Google's fully automated car, but it could make life much easier for transportation pros who'd rather not spend most of their day gripping a steering wheel.