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Balding middle-aged trucker Hans Luft was toying conspicuously with an iPad behind the wheel of his 40-tonne heavy goods vehicle as it hurtled down the autobahn under the approving gaze of assembled Daimler executives. The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 prototype, demonstrated on Thursday along a closed-off stretch of the A14 near Magdeburg, Germany, is a major step in an escalating race to develop self-driving vehicles. “The drive was relaxing,” Luft told reporters afterwards.

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