First it was Arizona, now it’s southwest Virginia. Autonomous truck testing by UPS and the USPS began in May 2019, with routes ranging from 100 to 1000 miles. Now 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. 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.
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.
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.
Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of DTNA, 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.
Source: Daimler Trucks North America LLC