Peterbilt 579 concept truck.

Peterbilt 579 concept truck.

Peterbilt showcased the latest autonomous driving technologies in a concept truck at the ITS World Congress in Detroit that's going on now through Sept. 11.

The system was demonstrated on a Model 579 and showed off features which automatically assist a driver during unsafe situations

“The autonomous truck of the future is an extension of existing, individual systems already available for today’s commercial vehicles,” said Bill Kahn, the principal engineer and manager of advanced concepts at Peterbilt.

Heavy duty trucks make ideal platforms for automated operation because they spend the majority of their time on highways at constant speeds for long periods of time, he added.

Two main technologies were exhibited by the concept truck. There was a radar based adaptive cruise control which automatically accelerates and decelerates to maintain a safe follow distance. There was also a lane departure warning system which uses cameras to detect the edges of lanes and alerts the driver if the vehicle drifts too much.

The lane departure system was boosted by giving it the ability to self-correct the vehicle without driver input through an electronically controlled steering system. The adaptive cruise could bring the vehicle to a complete stop if necessary.

The concept truck also used the GPS system to add features like last mile routing, parking assist and new driver proficiency.

The ITS World Congress is held in the U.S. every three years and trades off with Europe and Asia in between.