Daimler Trucks, the parent company of Freightliner, is now testing automated heavy duty trucks with help from subsidiary company Torc Robotics. The tests are being run along highways in Virginia, Transport Topics reports.
The companies are partnering to develop Level 4 trucks that, in certain circumstances, can operate themselves without any direct human assistance. Level 4 is one step below complete automation.
Daimler Trucks says the technology—which it hopes to make available within 10 years—will result in fewer accidents, greater efficiency and reduced driver fatigue.
“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,” said Martin Daum, head of Daimler’s global truck and bus division.
For the tests Daimler is using Freightliner’s new eCascadia truck equipped with self-driving software as well as sensors, cameras and radar produced by Torc.
Torc was officially acquired by Daimler Trucks in August. Torc CEO and co-founder Michael Fleming said the company viewed the merger as a tremendous opportunity.
“Being part of Daimler Trucks is the start of a new chapter for Torc,” he said. “Our whole team is thrilled to be working alongside our Daimler colleagues as we pursue the commercialization of Level 4 trucks to bring this technology to the market, because we strongly believe it can save lives.”
Daimler Trucks North America is equally optimistic.
“We look forward to writing history together,” CEO Roger Nielsen said. “The U.S. highways are the perfect place to develop automated driving technology.”