Torc Robotics to establish self-driving truck testing center in New Mexico
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Torc Robotics to establish self-driving truck testing center in New Mexico

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David Sickels is the Senior Editor of Fleet Equipment. He has a history of working in the media, marketing and automotive industries in both print and online.

Torc Robotics and Daimler Trucks will expand their joint self-driving truck on-road testing to New Mexico this month and establish a test center in the Albuquerque area, the companies announced.

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Torc Robotics says the expansion of on-road testing routes follows a year of exploration by the partners who are developing the foundational structure for large-scale technology commercialization.

“The partnership has enabled both our teams to move faster on developing Level 4 trucks,” said Dr. Peter Vaughan Schmidt, head of autonomous technology group at Daimler Trucks. “We will implement the results of our collaboration in the next phase of public road testing later this year.”

Torc Robotics says major decisions from the collaboration include reinventing the truck chassis for self-driving functionality and developing a hub-to-hub operations model in collaboration with DTNA, adding that the partners have also built a strong foundational infrastructure for commercializing at scale, including “formalized rigorous testing and validation protocols, stringent truck safety driver certification processes, a next-generation simulation platform, and extended software capabilities.”

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Last September, Torc added Freightliner self-driving-equipped trucks to its fleet of test vehicles on public roads in Virginia. Results from those tests have been incorporated into a new system that will be tested in both states. The team announced expansion plans in February, but they were delayed by the pandemic.

Torc Robotics says all automated runs require both a safety conductor and a highly-trained safety driver certified both by Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics. All safety drivers hold a commercial driver’s license and are specially trained in extreme vehicle dynamics and automated systems. The trucks used for the testing will be hauling a trailer with added weight to simulate a load.

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