Daimler Trucks has begun testing automated trucks on public roads. The company and Torc Robotics have teamed up to actively develop automated trucks with SAE Level 4 intent technology.
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The initial routes are on highways in southwest Virginia, with all runs having both an engineer and a trained safety driver overseeing the operations. All safety drivers hold a commercial driver's license and are specially trained in vehicle dynamics and automated systems.
The deployment comes after months of extensive testing and safety validation on a closed loop track. As part of the safety process, both companies test track and on-road validation play an integral role in establishing the essential building blocks for successfully advancing automated technology.
"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," says Martin Daum, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Trucks & Buses.
Daimler will focus on further evolving automated on evolving automated driving technology and vehicle integration for heavy-duty trucks, aiming to reduce the amount of systems needed to provide reliability and safety.
"As we pair Daimler's expertise in building safe and reliable 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," says Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America.
In addition to autonomous technology, Daimler is also building an infrastructure required for the operational testing of initial application cases, consisting of a main control center and logistics hubs. The hubs will be located along high density freight corridors where many customers operate and are within close proximity of interstates and highways.