BLACKSBURG, Va. — As Torc Robotics and Daimler Truck AG enter into their fourth year of partnership, officials at both companies say their focus remains directed at customers, industry collaboration and commercialization of Level 4 autonomous trucks for long-haul applications in the U.S.
Level 4 automation represents high automation, where a vehicle can operate without human override under ideal environmental conditions.
Since Daimler Truck’s majority share investment in Torc in 2019, “the two have worked hand-in-hand to be the first to commercialize a profitable autonomous truck solution at scale,” a news release stated. “Torc continues to operate as an independent subsidiary and serves as the lead for autonomous driving system development, innovation, and fleet testing.”
This year, Torc launched two new facilities. The first one opened in January in Austin, Texas. It is a 21,000 square-foot engineering-focused product development center. Torc chose Austin “due to the city’s unique culture, commitment to innovation, and talent pool is driving technology development and product growth,” according to the news release.
In late March, Torc announced the launch of the Torc Autonomous Advisory Council (TAAC) “to gain insights from freight industry leaders and address requirements for integrating autonomous technology into the freight network,” according to the news release. “TAAC and Torc leaders meet quarterly throughout the year, in addition to independently collaborating on critical areas such as integrating autonomous trucks with current freight operations and regulatory challenges.”
Torc and Schneider recently announced that Schneider will serve as an operational partner for Torc’s autonomous test fleet.
The news release stated that “Schneider will provide freight loads for Torc’s pilot operations and unique insights on truckload freight that will help guide the development and ongoing commercialization of autonomous trucks for long-haul applications.”
In preparation for a full hub-to-hub experience, Torc further developed its capabilities for highways, including complex merges and lane change maneuvers. In addition, other proficiencies include autonomously detecting and reacting to traffic lights and navigating complex intersections.
From a technology perspective, Torc officials recently started running their vehicles with an updated sensor suite, computers and additional integrations that further testing efficiency as the team scales its autonomous fleet.
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