Daimler Trucks grabs tech company Torc Robotics: Page 2 of 2

April 01, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Daimler Trucks grabs tech company Torc Robotics
With the acquisition of a majority stake in Torc Robotics, Daimler Trucks secures access to advanced technology for automated truck driving. This step illustrates where the journey is heading in the automation of freight transport and how the strategy in the truck sector differs from that in the passenger car sector.

However, companies operating Level 4 vehicles cannot achieve the full financial benefit, because at this level of automation a driver still has to remain on board for safety reasons. "Highly automated trucks (SAE Level 4) are used in the initial phase on defined routes, e.g. on motorways for hub-to-hub connections. In this initial phase, one person will be in the vehicle and monitor the systems. In the future, nobody will be on board anymore, which is why highly automated driving will be of enormous benefit to our customers," says Daimler.

The technology will be independent of the type of drive, Daimler continues. Almost five years ago, the company presented a fully electric heavy-duty truck with a usage profile that largely corresponds to the scenario presented here. However, the automation platform can also be used in vehicles with conventional powertrains.

As part of the agreements, Torc will work closely with Daimler Trucks' developers, particularly the research and development teams of Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) in Portland, Oregon. Torc will continue to work on the development and testing of "Asimov", its software for self-propelled vehicles. At the same time, DTNA will focus its Automated Truck Research & Development Center in Portland on further developing its technology for automated driving and vehicle integration for heavy trucks. The DTNA team is working on a truck chassis that is particularly suitable for automated driving, particularly due to the redundancy of systems needed to ensure maximum reliability and safety. In automating the trucks, Daimler will also use technologies developed for use in passenger cars at its subsidiary Mercedes Benz. This applies in particular to sensor technology.

The existing platform for Level 2 uses cameras and radar systems as sensors. The transition to Level 4 will not only increase the number of these sensors, but also use other technologies, in particular lidar, the Daimler spokesman added.

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