New Talent, Technology and Partners: Daimler Truck and Torc Enter Fifth Year of Collaboration With Eyes on the Future

(Blacksburg, Va./Stuttgart, Germany – January 16, 2023) – As Torc Robotics and Daimler Truck AG enter their fifth year of partnership, the companies are focused on bringing top talent into the organization and building and innovating through industry collaboration and partnerships. The goal of the collaboration is to commercialize Level 4 autonomous trucks for long-haul applications closer to a reality in the U.S.

“Over the past four years, we have seen the results of our strong collaboration with Daimler Truck and look forward to continuing to build upon the momentum and successes to bring us closer to the clear path of commercialization and safe deployment of autonomous trucks for long-haul applications,” said Peter Vaughan Schmidt, Torc Robotics CEO.

Joanna Buttler, Head of Global Autonomous Technology Group at Daimler Truck, adds: “Working with Torc, we have always managed to combine our ideas for the right solutions. The result is a fully integrated state-of-the-art autonomous truck that can safely handle highly complex traffic situations. In this spirit of authoring the future, we are looking forward to bringing SAE Level 4 autonomous trucks for hub-to-hub operations to the US market by 2027 together.”

Milestones

Team Growth

Over the past year, Torc has brought on some of the brightest innovators in the autonomous technology space with the goal of continuing to build out a dynamic leadership team that positions Torc and Daimler as leaders in autonomous driving system development, innovation, and fleet testing.

King joins as Chief Engineering Officer

In May, C.J. King joined the Torc leadership team as chief engineering officer. King, who was previously vice president of software engineering at HERE Technologies, brings more than 18 years of engineering, software, hardware, and autonomous expertise to the company. His leadership is driving the unification of all Torc’s engineering efforts to align with the company’s roadmap and key milestones. King’s experience on a global scale also supports Torc’s engineering team in its preparations for the commercial launch of Torc’s autonomous truck solution. King has extensive expertise in product development, managing global, diverse teams, technology optimizations, and new-system implementations as a result of his previous roles at HERE Technologies, Amazon, Ford, and Toyota.

Michelle Chaka joins as Senior Vice President, Safety and Regulatory

In February, Michelle Chaka joined Torc as senior vice president, safety and regulatory, bringing more than 25 years of safety and regulatory expertise to the company. Chaka serves as the safety champion for Torc, fostering a culture that values safety, data-driven and evidence-based approaches, and transparency. Chaka has experience leading automated driving research projects sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) from which NHTSA published the learnings to all stakeholders. In her 25 years in the industry, Chaka has a unique mix of experience from her work at General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and most recently, Locomation.

Scanlon joins as Vice President of Product Management

In August, Sheila Scanlon joined Torc as the new vice president of product management. Scanlon brings over 20 years of experience in the technology and autonomous driving industry to the Torc team. In her role, she works alongside Torc leadership to foster a customer-centric culture and data-driven mindset, leading the product planning and prioritization activities in alignment with engineering. Scanlon’s experience covers a broad range of applications across the autonomous driving space, including leadership roles at Aptiv, HERE Technologies, Mercedes Benz, and RRAI.

Capabilities and Technology

Torc acquires leader in computer vision and machine learning

In an effort to strengthen core competencies required for commercialization of Level 4 autonomous trucking, Torc acquired Algolux, a leader in computer vision and machine learning, in February 2022. The acquisition brought together Algolux’s end-to-end artificial intelligence (AI) stack, along with Torc’s groundbreaking autonomous-driving technology. Robust perception technology is key to helping Torc’s autonomous system correctly identify objects during difficult visual conditions such as low light, fog or bad weather. Algolux’s software is currently running on autonomous ready Freightliner Cascadia test vehicles.

Partnerships and Collaboration

Torc and C.R. England join forces on long-haul autonomous trucking pilots

Early this year, Torc announced a strategic collaboration with C.R. England, one of North America’s premier transportation companies. The partnership allows Torc to implement a pilot program leveraging C.R. England’s temperature-controlled loads and Torc’s fleet of Level 4 autonomous test trucks for long-haul applications. The collaboration is Torc’s first expansion into refrigerated freight. The pilot will provide select customers with temperature-controlled capacity and world-class service, while giving unique insights to help guide the development and ongoing commercialization of autonomous trucks for long-haul applications.

Dutch organization joins Torc for scenario-based safety validation

In late 2022, Torc announced a partnership with the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) that would allow Torc and TNO to work together to substantiate the safety of self-driving trucks using scenario-based safety validation. TNO’s StreetWise, a safety validation methodology based on a real-world scenario database, provides a large collection of “driving events” designed to test and validate autonomous driving systems’ performance according to the latest safety requirements. The resulting scenario information enables Torc to apply thorough, virtual validation, according to state-of-the-art international safety assessment processes.

For more information on Torc, please visit www.torc.ai.


About Torc Robotics
Torc Robotics, headquartered in Blacksburg, Virginia, is an independent subsidiary of Daimler Truck AG, a global leader and pioneer in trucking. Founded in 2005 at the birth of the self-driving vehicle revolution, Torc has over 18 years of experience in pioneering safety-critical, self-driving applications. Torc offers a complete self-driving vehicle software and integration solution and is currently focusing on commercializing autonomous trucks for long-haul applications in the U.S. Torc operates test facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and engineering offices in Austin, Texas; Stuttgart, Germany; and Montreal, Canada. Torc’s purpose is driving the future of freight with autonomous technology. As the world’s leading autonomous trucking solution, we empower exceptional employees, deliver a focused, hub-to-hub autonomous truck product, and provide our customers with the safest, most reliable, and cost-efficient solution to the market.

About Daimler Truck
Daimler Truck is the pioneer of truck automation. In 2014, the world’s leading truck manufacturer presented the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025, the world’s first automated truck, and was the first to demonstrate the technological opportunities and great potential that automated trucks offer customers and society. In 2015, Daimler’s Freightliner Inspiration Truck obtained the first-ever road license for a partially automated commercial vehicle demonstrating the promise of automated driving on the highways of Nevada. Today, Daimler Truck offers partially automated driving features (SAE Level 2) with the Mercedes-Benz Actros, the Freightliner Cascadia and the FUSO Super Great.

Daimler Truck North America has developed the autonomous-ready Freightliner Cascadia – the foundation of a smart autonomous driving system. The Class 8 truck is equipped with redundant functions that enable the deployment of autonomous trucking and are ideal for the integration of autonomous software, hardware, and compute. Designed and developed with a second set of critical systems, such as steering and braking, the vehicle meets Daimler Truck’s uncompromising safety standards. As part of the Autonomous Technology Group, DTNA is also researching the infrastructure required for the operational testing of initial application cases. DTNA is contributing to the successful development of autonomous driving technology and vehicle integration for heavy-duty trucks.

Media Contacts
Torc: Laura Lawton
Daimler Truck: Paul Mandaiker
Daimler Truck North America: Anja Weinert