In the future, you may have your choice of two different versions of a Level-4 autonomous Freightliner Cascadia.
“Autonomous is one of the holy grails out there,” said Daimler Trucks head Martin Daum In a virtual event May 20 outlining Daimler Truck AG’s plans as it spins off into a separate company from Mercedes-Benz.
It is following a dual track of development on autonomous truck technology, working with both Waymo and Torc Robotics.
Daimler announced in 2019 it would acquire Torc Robotics, and in 2020 announced a partnership with Waymo.
With its subsidiary Torc, Daum explained, Daimler is developing its own virtual driver, optimized for hub-to-hub trucking. Torc CEO Michael Fleming explained that the result will be a Level 4 autonomous truck built from the factory with seamless hardware and software integration, adding, “The pure play in trucking positions us to establish industry standards.”
The Waymo partnership will see a unique version of the Cascadia designed specifically to work with the Waymo Driver, according to Tekedra Mawakana, co-CEO of Waymo.
“We saw the potential of Level 4 autonomous trucks early on,” Daum said. “Through powerful partnerships, we are developing the best-in-class Level 4 autonomous trucks.”
He said Daimler Trucks is targeting industry-leading autonomous technology with this dual-track strategy.
Globally, autonomy will be one of many new services Daimler Truck is focusing on as it moves forward, along with electrification services such as battery management and digitization.
One of the things making autonomy and many other of the company’s goals possible is digitization, explained Andreas Gorbach, head of truck technology for Daimler Trucks. Focusing on the electronic architecture of the truck and its software, he said, with more powerful yet fewer computing units in the truck, will help the company be “ready for the next generation of human-machine interface, the next generation of safety systems, the next generation of predictive intelligence, the next generation of electric and fuel cell trucks, and ready for the next generation of autonomous driving.”