Daimler: In “Perfect Position” To Put Autonomous Trucks On U.S. Roadways Soon
Portland, Oregon – Daimler Trucks is promising once again to the lead the way in development and deployment of autonomous trucks.
On Tuesday, Daimler Trucks announced it is establishing the Autonomous Technology Group as a global organization for automated driving, bringing together its worldwide expertise and activities, as of June 1.
In a release, the company said the main tasks of the new unit will comprise overall strategy and implementation of the automated driving roadmap, including research and development, as well as setting up the required operations infrastructure and network, heading towards the series production of highly automated trucks (SAE level 4).
The newly established Autonomous Technology Group is part of Daimler Trucks’ global effort to put highly automated trucks onto the roads within a decade.
The company believes trucks equipped with level SAE level 4 technology is the “logical next step after level 2 to increase safety as well as efficiency and productivity.”
Martin Daum, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Trucks and Buses stated: “We are the pioneer for automated trucks. With the formation of our global Autonomous Technology Group, we are taking the next step, underscoring the importance of highly automated driving for Daimler Trucks, the industry and society as well.”
Daum also said the new unit will “maximize the effectiveness” of the company’s mission to lead the way in autonomous technology deployment.
“We will therefore be in the perfect position to put highly automated driving onto the roads, making transportation safer, saving lives and helping trucking companies boost their productivity,” Daum said.
Effective June 1, Peter Vaughan Schmidt, who is currently Head of Strategy Daimler Trucks, will lead this new, global and cross-divisional organization.
In this position, he will continue to report directly to Martin Daum.
Schmidt has 15 years of experience in the industry and in his previous position he has been responsible for the development of Daimler Trucks’ strategy on automated vehicles.
Schmidt discussed the company’s strategy.
“In the first stage, we will focus on use cases of highly automated driving in defined areas and between defined hubs in the U.S.A. In doing so, we will work closely together with customers whose business matches this automated driving application. We will not only develop the respective technology but also set up the required operations infrastructure and network.”
Roger Nielsen, CEO of Daimler Trucks North America LLC (DTNA), echoed his comments from earlier this year at CES, promising to bring SAE level 4 autonomous trucks to U.S. roadways very soon.
“We’re fully committed to demonstrating the enormous advantages of highly automated driving first here in the U.S.A.,” he said.
Key Activities Of The Autonomous Technology Group
Daimler said software development for highly automated driving will be one of the key activities of the Autonomous Technology Group.
Another one will be the so-called vehicle project, which is responsible for the redundancy in the chassis enabling the vehicle’s systems to take over roles of a professional driver while on the road, providing the highest safety.
The vehicle project is also commissioned with taking care of the automated driving sensor kit integration (camera, lidar, radar), which – together with a very accurate map – is responsible for ensuring that the highly automated truck finds its own way on the road.
The operations infrastructure and network to be set up by the Autonomous Technology Group – another key activity – will consist of one main vehicle control center as well as additional stations at logistics hubs.
Daimler said the Autonomous Technology Group has a global reach with experts working in various locations throughout the company’s worldwide development network, i.e. in Portland and Blacksburg (U.S.A.) and Stuttgart (Germany).
According to company officials, more locations will follow as the test fleet is built up and deployed.
The Blacksburg-based company Torc Robotics will be part of the newly established Autonomous Technology Group, pending the authorities’ approval of the acquisition recently announced by Daimler Trucks.