Following extensive testing and safety validation on closed loop track, Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics are moving development and testing of trucks with SAE Level Four intent technology on to public roads in Virginia.
The initial routes are on highways in southwest Virginia, where Torc Robotics – part of the global development network within the recently established Daimler Trucks Autonomous Technology Group – 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. 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.
Torc: software experts, part of the Daimler Trucks family
Based in the U.S., 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,” says 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 Four trucks to bring this technology to the market because we strongly believe it can save lives.”
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.
Portland develops redundant vehicle chassis and infrastructure
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.
“As we pair Daimler’s expertise in building safe and reliable trucks with Torc’s genius in engineering Level Four vehicles, we have no doubt we will do great things in the future,” said DTNA President and CEO Roger Nielsen. “We look forward to writing history together. 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.