BLACKSBURG, Va./STUTTGART, Germany/PORTLAND, Ore. — Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics are actively developing and testing automated trucks with SAE Level 4 intent technology on public roads.
The initial routes are on highways in southwest Virginia, where Torc Robotics is headquartered. All automated runs require both an engineer overseeing the system and a highly trained safety driver certified by Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics, according to Martin Daum, member of the board of management of Daimler AG, who is responsible for trucks and buses.
All safety drivers hold a commercial driver’s license and are specially trained in vehicle dynamics and automated systems.
The deployment on public roads takes place after months of extensive testing and safety validation on a closed loop track. As part of the comprehensive safety process by Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics, both test track and on-road validation play an integral role in establishing the essential building blocks for successfully advancing automated technology, Daum said.
“Torc Robotics is a leader in automated driving technology,” he said. “Daimler Trucks is the market leader in trucks and we understand the needs of the industry. Bringing Level 4 trucks to the public roads is a major step toward our goal to deliver reliable and safe trucks for the benefits of our customers, our economies and society.”
Based in the United States, Torc is now part of Daimler Trucks. Authorities approved the majority stake acquisition by the truck manufacturer. Torc Robotics is now a part of the newly established Autonomous Technology Group of Daimler Trucks. The truck manufacturer is consolidating all its expertise and activities in automated driving into the global organization with locations in Blacksburg and Portland in the U.S. as well as in Stuttgart, Germany.
“Being part of Daimler Trucks is the start of a new chapter for Torc,” said Michael Fleming, CEO of Torc Robotics. “Our whole team is thrilled to be working alongside our Daimler colleagues as we pursue the commercialization of Level 4 trucks to bring this technology to the market because we strongly believe it can save lives.”
Daum said Torc is one of the world’s most experienced companies in the field of automated driving with highly sophisticated, roadworthy technology and years of expertise with heavy-duty commercial vehicles.
“Asimov,” Torc’s system for automated driving, has been tested in urban and long-distance routes as well as in rain, snow, fog and varying light conditions.
Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) will focus on further evolving automated driving technology and vehicle integration for heavy-duty trucks. The DTNA team is working on a truck chassis perfectly suited for highly automated driving, particularly the redundancy of systems needed to provide reliability and safety, according to Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of DTNA.
“As we pair Daimler’s expertise in building safe and reliable trucks with Torc’s genius in engineering Level 4 vehicles, we have no doubt we will do great things in the future. We look forward to writing history together,” Nielsen said. “The U.S. highways are the perfect place to develop automated driving technology.”
Within the Autonomous Technology Group, DTNA is also building an infrastructure required for the operational testing of initial application cases. This consists of a main control center and logistics hubs. These hubs are located along high density freight corridors where many customers operate and within close proximity of interstates and highways.
For more information on the partnership between Daimler and Torc Robotics, listen to the debut of Daimler Trucks’ “Transportation Matters” podcast featuring Martin Daum and Michael Fleming. Their in-depth discussion peels back the layers of the minds behind two influential leaders in this strategic partnership. Listen in to hear how their inspiration, passion and dedication sparked this journey, forwarding revolutionary technology that will be used to increase freight efficiency and reduce accidents on the highway.
The podcast episode with Michael Fleming can be found on the following channels:
Daimler Corporate Website: d.ai/daimlerhub-mf
Apple Podcasts: d.ai/apple-mf
Google Podcasts: d.ai/google-mf