Nick Elder, Director of Corporate Strategy at Torc Robotics, explored the ins and outs of autonomous truck integration at this year’s MOVE America conference. Over the course of a Keynote, Nick detailed how Torc Robotics is tackling the roll-out of the autonomous ecosystem.
Nick led the conversation by introducing Torc’s journey. From the company’s innovative beginnings in Blacksburg, VA to its unmatched experience in commercializing autonomous vehicles with OEMs, Torc has come far from its DARPA winner days. Torc has also launched previous OEMs in mining and defense, leading the company to pursue larger-scale commercial deployments of autonomy: autonomous trucking.
Trucking is a critical industry valued at approximately $800 billion, and truckers transport 72.5% of all US goods, including food and medicine. The safety impact of autonomous trucking is further solidified by crash metrics: there are over 415,000 truck crashes per year. Together, these datapoints create a landscape for autonomous trucking to save the lives of both freight professionals and everyday consumers alike.
Torc’s mission has always, and will continue to be, about saving lives; this thread follows each and every product the company has previously pursued: mining, defense, and transportation alike. The environmental impact of autonomous trucks will further this mission as well, leading us to a future with fewer carbon emissions.
Nick also touched on the trucking industry’s truck driver shortage, which is expected to double by 2031, and shared that truck freight volume is projected to similarly double by 2030. Where autonomy can be very powerful, Nick says, is in those long-haul middle mile scenarios: areas that are far more predictable than our urban streets.
He went on to explain Torc’s answer to these industry-wide concerns and challenges: Torc’s seamless autonomous ecosystem, complete with Torc Virtual Driver, AD Software, Mission Control, and full-service lifecycle management. Alongside Daimler Truck’s Redundant Chassis “Autonomy Ready Cascadia”, Torc is bringing a scalable and sustainable autonomous truck from fiction into reality.
From tools and hardware to freight logistics, Torc’s partners are also a guiding light in all things designing autonomous vehicles. From Luminar, Torc’s Lidar providers, to Penske, Torc’s truck maintenance partner, Torc has developed key relationships with some of the industry’s major stakeholders to ensure that the company’s autonomous roll-out is as smooth as possible.
Nick further shared that Torc’s approach to the future of freight is providing value, building collaborative landscapes with industry leaders, and building trust with both the general public and government regulators. With safety and security kept at top-of-mind, Torc is creating autonomous semi-trucks that will create countless opportunities and improve the strength of supply chains across the nation.
As part of the leadership team at this self-driving powerhouse, Nick Elder brings his 15 years of engineering excellence to all things trucking. Nick can be reached at email@example.com. Torc is a diamond sponsor of this year’s MOVE America event, running September 27-28, 2022 in Austin, TX.