Press Release

Daimler Trucks begins testing automated trucks on public roads

on September 8, 2019
  • Development and testing of trucks with SAE Level 4 intent technology on public roads in Virginia 
  • Follows extensive testing and safety validation on closed loop track
  • Torc Robotics is part of the global development network within the recently established Daimler Trucks Autonomous Technology Group
  • Martin Daum, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Trucks & Buses: “Torc Robotics is a leader in automated driving technology. Daimler Trucks is the leader in trucks and we understand the needs of the industry. Bringing Level 4 trucks to the public roads is a major step toward our goal to deliver reliable and safe trucks for the benefits of our customers, our economies and society.”

Blacksburg / Stuttgart / Portland – 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.

Martin Daum, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Trucks & Buses: “Torc Robotics is a leader in automated driving technology. Daimler Trucks is the leader in trucks and we understand the needs of the industry. Bringing Level 4 trucks to the public roads is a major step toward our goal to deliver reliable and safe trucks for the benefits of our customers, our economies and society.”

Daimler / Torc autonomous semi on closed-course roadway

The public road deployment takes place after months of extensive testing and safety validation on a closed-course track.

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 4 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 proven 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 the maximum level of reliability and the maximum level of safety.

Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America LLC: “As we pair Daimler’s best-in-class safest-on-the-road trucks with Torc’s genius in engineering Level 4 vehicles, we have no doubt we will do great things in the future. 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.

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. Their in-depth discussion peels back the layers of the minds behind two influential leaders in this strategic partnership. Listen in to hear how their inspiration, passion and dedication sparked this journey, forwarding revolutionary technology that will be used to increase freight efficiency and reduce accidents on the highway.

The podcast episode with Michael Fleming can be found on the following channels:

Daimler Corporate Website: d.ai/daimlerhub-mf

Apple Podcasts: d.ai/apple-mf

Google Podcasts: d.ai/google-mf

Spotify: d.ai/spotify-mf

YouTube: d.ai/youtube-mf 

Contact:
Florian Martens, +49 (0) 711 17-4 15 25, florian.martens@daimler.com
Alexandros Mitropoulos, +49 (0) 711 17-7 78 68, alexandros.mitropoulos@daimler.com
Andrea Corso, +1 917 3276198, andrea.corso@daimler.com

Further information about Daimler is available online:
www.media.daimler.com and www.daimler.com

This document includes predictive statements reflecting our current estimation concerning the course of future events. Words such as »anticipate«, »assume«, »believe«, »estimate«, »expect«, »intend«, »can/could«, »plan«, »project«, »should« and similar terms are indicative of this kind of predictive statement. These statements are subject to a range of risks and unknowns. Some examples of this situation are scenarios such as unfavourable developments in economic conditions, particularly a decrease in demand within our most important commercial markets, negative developments in the available refinancing options on the credit and financial markets, unavoidable events and forces majeures, such as natural catastrophes, acts of terror, political unrest, armed conflicts, industrial accidents, and their causal effects on our sales, purchasing, production and/or financing activities, fluctuations in exchange rates, a reorientation of consumer preferences toward smaller and less profitable vehicles or a potential loss of acceptance of our products and services culminating in a reduced ability to define prices and reduced utilization of production capacity, increases in the prices of fuels and raw materials, suspensions in production stemming from bottlenecks in material-supply chains, workforce strikes or supplier insolvencies, decreases in the resale values of used vehicles, successful implementation of cost-reduction and efficiency-enhancement measures, the business prospects of the companies in which we retain substantial numbers of shares, successful implementation of strategic cooperation agreements and joint ventures, changes to laws and regulations, stipulations and official directives, particularly those affecting vehicle emissions, fuel economy and safety, as well as the conclusion on ongoing official trials or inspections, or of trials or inspections commissioned or instigated by official agencies, and the verdicts or pending or potentially menacing future legal proceedings as well as other risks and imponderables, of which some are described in the current annual report under the heading “Risks and Chances Report”. Should one of these risk factors or these imponderables occur, or should the operative assumptions forming the foundation for predictive statements prove unfounded, then the actual results and events could display substantial deviations from the results and events as directly or implicitly enunciated in these statements. It is not our intention, nor do we undertake any obligation, to update predictive statements on a continuing basis, as these are based solely and exclusively on the conditions prevailing on the day of publication.

Daimler at a glance
Daimler AG is one of the most successful automotive firms in the world. With its Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses and Daimler Financial Services business units, the Daimler Group is one of the predominant producers of premium cars as well as the world’s largest manufacturer of trucks over six tonnes. Daimler Financial Services provides financing, leasing, fleet management, financial investments, brokerage of credit cards and insurances, as well as innovative mobility services.
The company’s founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, made history with the invention of the automobile in the year 1886.
As a pioneer of automotive engineering, Daimler remains consistently committed to its motivation and obligations in shaping safe and sustainable mobility for the future. The Group’s focus is on innovative and green technologies as well as on safe and superior automobiles that appeal and fascinate. Daimler consistently invests in the development of efficient drive trains with the long-term goal of locally emission-free driving: from high-tech combustion engines to hybrid vehicles to electric drive trains powered by battery or fuel cell. Furthermore, the company follows a consistent path towards intelligent connectivity of its vehicles, autonomous driving and new mobility concepts. Daimler willingly accepts the challenge of meeting its responsibility toward society and the environment. Daimler sells its vehicles and services in nearly all the countries of the world and has production facilities in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa. Its current brand portfolio includes, in addition to the world’s most valuable premium automotive brand, Mercedes-Benz (source: Interbrand Study, 4.10.2018), as well as Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes me, the brands smart, EQ, Freightliner, Western Star, BharatBenz, FUSO, Setra and Thomas Built Buses and the brands of Daimler Financial Services: Mercedes-Benz Bank, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and Daimler Truck Financial. The company is listed on the stock exchanges of Frankfurt and Stuttgart (stock exchange symbol DAI). In 2018, the Group sold around 3.4 million vehicles and employed a workforce of more than 298,700 people. Revenue amounted to 167.4 billion euros, EBIT stood at 11.1 billion euros.

Jim DudleyDaimler Trucks begins testing automated trucks on public roads

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