Torc is now cooperating with U.S. logistics companies to further develop the real-world applications for autonomous trucking. To that end, Torc has established the Torc Autonomous Advisory Council (TAAC) with key freight industry players to incorporate deep industry insights into its development process. Council members such as Schneider, Covenant Logistics, Penske Truck Leasing, Ryder System Inc., C.H. Robinson and Baton as well as Daimler Truck North America as OEM, will provide strategic guidance to Torc as they integrate with the freight network and tackle challenges beyond highway driving. With customer co-creation, Torc enters into the next stage of development, focusing even more sharply on specific customer requirements and concrete business models. Daimler Truck and Torc firmly believe in making autonomous trucking a reality and commercializing the technology within this decade.
Progress on the way to hub-to-hub deployment in the U.S.
Since acquiring a majority stake in Torc three years ago, Daimler Truck has made significant progress in turning autonomous trucks from an idea into reality. Typical driving scenarios such as lane changes and complex merges have been tested intensively and have proven that Torc’s autonomous driving software can safely navigate on highways. Recently, Torc has expanded its testing and is demonstrating L4 autonomous trucks with enhanced capabilities in more complex scenarios. Equipped with state-of-the-art LiDAR, radar and camera technology, the trucks are capable of advanced driving behaviors on surface streets, ramps and turns at controlled intersections.
These capabilities are essential for the planned deployment in the hub-to-hub use case. In this application, drivers deliver goods in conventional trucks over the first mile to transfer hubs along highways in key U.S. freight corridors. From there, the trailer is coupled with a purpose built L4 autonomous truck that safely navigates long stretches of highways by driving autonomously from hub-to-hub. Once the L4 truck reaches the destination hub, the last-mile distribution will continue via manually driven trucks. Factors such as long, open stretches of highway, increasing demand for freight movement, large fleets and forward-looking regulators make the U.S. the ideal proving ground to deploy this new technology first.
Daimler Truck develops autonomous-ready Freightliner Cascadia
Engineers at Daimler Truck North America have successfully developed the first scalable autonomous truck platform with critical safety systems. Based on Freightliner’s truck, the Class 8 autonomous-ready Cascadia with redundant functions enables the deployment of autonomous trucking. This truck has been designed and developed with a second set of critical systems, such as steering and braking to meet Daimler Truck’s uncompromising safety standards. The vehicle continuously monitors and assesses the health of these systems. In case of interruption or errors, the newly developed redundant systems will be able to safely control the truck. Thanks to its redundancy of systems, the autonomous truck can contribute to enhancing safety in traffic.