Torc Robotics, an independent subsidiary of Daimler Truck NA, headed west for the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Conference and Expo at the beginning of May 2023. The four-day conference focused on the trends and technologies transforming commercial transportation, and as such, autonomous trucking took a front seat. Attendees and exhibitors chose from over 30 sessions and toured 300 booths, including Torc at booth 6957.

Nick Elder, Torc Director of Corporate Strategy, spoke twice at the event on Wednesday afternoon, May 3. First, he held a Tech Talk on the Expo stage, elaborating on the relationship between Torc and DTNA, and the Torc mission to arrive at Level 4, driver out, autonomous operation in the market.

“One of the natural questions is always what’s the timeline look like for this. We’re looking at these advanced technologies and autonomy is an incredibly challenging proposition,” said Nick. “And we’ve been clear since the very early days: We’re going release a product when it is safe to do so, and that means rigorous validation. And that that is going to take time to accomplish.”

“So what is Torc’s vision? When we think about the pillars that we want stand on, as we look to bring automation into the Class 8 space, first and foremost, bringing value to customers, in a safe way. We want to create a safer solution that will ultimately bring value to freight networks, to carriers, and to the end customer, the shippers,” Nick continued. “We believe that to do that it’s absolutely imperative that you collaborate with partners. So that means partnerships with OEMs like Daimler, it means partnerships with carriers as well to make sure we’re developing the right product and that it can integrate into the freight ecosystem.”

Additionally, Daimler Truck NA president and CEO and Torc Board Member John O’Leary opened up the Expo as a keynote speaker.  DTNA was also a presenting sponsor of ACT Expo 2023 and hosted booth 6440.

Later on Wednesday, Nick took part in a breakout session entitled “Autonomous – Developments in Piloting and Scaling Commercial Autonomous Vehicles.” Moderated by Chris King, Senior Vice President, eMobility, Siemens, the other panelists included Michael Wiesinger, Vice President of Commercialization, Kodiak Robotics; Mike Plasencia, Managing Director of RyderVentures and New Product Strategy, Ryder System, Inc.;  and Shawn Kerrigan, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, Plus.

Speaking as part of the panel, Nick elaborated on one commonality between Torc and the other participants in regard to autonomous vehicle operational design domains. “When we look at these level designation for autonomy, I think we’re all going to be focused on that L4 space. So it’s going to have a defined domain. And that really references the type of infrastructure you can handle, what type of roads you can handle, the environmental conditions that you can handle,” said Nick.

“If a truck is dispatched from a location and during its journey, midway in transit, it starts to snow or rain — beyond the capabilities of that system — it’s going to be critical that the system is capable of understanding that it’s now going outside of the domain in which it was designed to operate. And it will still need to find itself in a safe state,” he continued. “It’s going to have to know that it is beyond those limits and make itself safe.”

Torc looks forward to returning to ACT Expo in 2024. For more information about Torc and the presentations shared at the event, contact




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