(Blacksburg, Va./Portland, Ore./Stuttgart, Germany – Oct. 6, 2022) Torc Robotics and Daimler Truck AG enter their fourth year of partnership, with a focus on customers, industry collaboration, and commercializing Level 4 autonomous trucks in the U.S. for long-haul applications. The powerhouse team continues to develop safe, sustained innovation in the freight industry as they combine Daimler Truck’s extensive experience in manufacturing and relationships in the freight industry with Torc’s experience in developing autonomous vehicle solutions.
Since Daimler Truck’s majority share investment in Torc in 2019, the two have worked hand-in-hand to be the first to commercialize a profitable autonomous truck solution at scale. Torc continues to operate as an independent subsidiary and serves as the lead for autonomous driving system development, innovation, and fleet testing.
“Bringing a safe Level 4 autonomous truck to market is by no means a simple task. Over the past three years, we have benefited from the strong collaboration with Daimler Truck, bringing us significantly closer to our goal of developing a highly optimized self-driving truck that will meet the fleets’ needs for cost, safety, and performance. The teamwork shown has been outstanding so far and we’re entering our fourth year of partnership with a clear roadmap – focusing on one manufacturer and one initial use case in one geographic area,” said Peter Vaughan Schmidt, Torc CEO.
Facilities and Team Growth
This year, Torc launched two new facilities. The first one opened in January and is in Austin, Texas. It is a 21,000 square-foot engineering-focused product development center. Torc chose Austin due to the city’s unique culture, commitment to innovation, and talent pool is driving technology development and product growth.
In April, Torc opened a 30,000 square-foot technology center in Stuttgart, Germany. Torc Europe GmbH taps into the talent pool in one of Germany’s prime automotive development regions. The Stuttgart team supports the ongoing development of SAE Level 4 virtual driver for deployment in autonomous trucks in the U.S. The virtual driver is composed of the software and compute components that make up the autonomous driving system.
Since last year, Torc doubled its headcount to more than 600 and hired seven executives with wide experience in emerging technologies and transportation. The company also brought on board a new CEO, Dr. Peter Vaughan Schmidt. He was the former head of Daimler Truck’s Autonomous Technology Group. Torc’s founder and former CEO Michael Fleming will remain on the Torc board of directors.
Partnerships and Collaboration
In late March, the company announced the launch of the Torc Autonomous Advisory Council (TAAC) to gain insights from freight industry leaders and address requirements for integrating autonomous technology into the freight network. TAAC and Torc leaders meet quarterly throughout the year, in addition to independently collaborating on critical areas such as integrating autonomous trucks with current freight operations and regulatory challenges.
Torc and Schneider Announced Collaboration
Torc and Schneider recently announced that Schneider will serve as an operational partner for Torc’s autonomous test fleet. Schneider will provide freight loads for Torc’s pilot operations and unique insights on truckload freight that will help guide the development and ongoing commercialization of autonomous trucks for long-haul applications.
Capabilities and Technology
In preparation for a full hub-to-hub experience, Torc further developed its capabilities for highways, including complex merges and lane change maneuvers. In addition, other proficiencies include autonomously detecting and reacting to traffic lights and navigating complex intersections.
From a technology perspective, Torc recently started running its vehicles with an updated sensor suite, computers, and additional integrations that further testing efficiency as the team scales its autonomous fleet.
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 engineering offices in Austin, Texas, and Stuttgart, Germany. 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. Follow Torc for more news and information.
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.