(Blacksburg, VA – May 12, 2022) Torc Robotics has tapped Axel Gern, a long-time leader in truck automation, to head its recently opened Torc Europe GmbH engineering facility in Stuttgart, Germany. Gern has been named senior vice president of engineering and managing director for Torc Europe at the technology and software development center.
“We are thrilled to have Axel join our team,” said Michael Fleming, Torc founder and CEO. “We have worked closely with him since before Daimler Truck invested in Torc, and we appreciate his clear vision and strong leadership. He knows the roadmap and the tech, and has earned great respect from Torc’rs.”
Gern joins the Torc team after serving as the chief technology officer for the Daimler Truck Autonomous Technology Group, where he had a leading role in the technological strategy for the company’s Level 4 autonomous truck development. At the same time, he built a strong team in Germany focusing on system design, safety engineering, validation, and testing, as well as motion control and hardware development — all functions that support autonomous driving.
Gern was on the Daimler Truck team that investigated autonomous driving partnerships that led to the successful 2019 acquisition of a majority stake in Torc. “I believe Torc is a major force in the safe commercialization of autonomous trucks, and I am very happy to join the team,” said Gern. “We have very strong engineers and technical resources in Germany, and I look forward to supporting the deployment of Level 4 autonomous trucks in the United States.
After serving as vice president of Autonomous Driving North America in Sunnyvale, California, for Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Gern joined Daimler Truck in 2018 as the technical project lead, Autonomous Trucks. Earlier he joined what was then Daimler AG in 1998 as a research and development engineer and earned successively higher-level positions in the organization. Gern studied computer science at the University of Stuttgart, focusing on software engineering, distributed artificial intelligence, and robotics, and earned his Ph.D. in 2005.
Gern is a long-time thought leader on autonomous trucks. He believes that combining Daimler Truck’s strong knowledge and expertise in system design and safety, with the software development skills from Torc, is a winning combination.
Torc’s appointment of Gern to lead its Germany location comes amid fast growth as the company accelerates its work to commercialize Level 4 autonomous trucks at scale. Torc recently announced the opening of its 18,000 square-foot technology and development center (with an additional 12,000 square feet of workshop space), located in one of Germany’s prime automotive development regions.
The Stuttgart center was announced in tandem with Torc’s new engineering office in Austin, Texas. Torc also operates a test facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as its headquarters in Blacksburg, Virginia.
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 17 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 an engineering office in Austin, Texas. Torc’s mission is saving lives with autonomous technology, which incorporates reducing highway deaths, enabling critical supplies – including medicines and foods – to reach every community in a timely manner, and helping the transportation industry increase fuel economy, uptime, and capacity.