Daimler Trucks is creating an Automated Truck Research Center to develop and test autonomous...

Daimler Trucks is creating an Automated Truck Research Center to develop and test autonomous truck technologies like the type seen in the company's Inspiration Truck (pictured) from 2015. 

Photo courtesy Daimler Trucks

PORTLAND, OREGON. Daimler Trucks is creating an Automated Truck Research and Development Center here at Daimler Trucks North America headquarters, to explore automated driving technology, including truck platooning, or what the company refers to as “pairing.”

Emphasizing that it believes that fully autonomous “driverless” commercial trucks will not enter full production in the near future, Daimler Trucks said the technology has the potential to create numerous advantages for the global logistics industry as the pool of long-haul truck drivers continues to shrink.

It’s a continuation along a path that started with its Future Truck 2025 project in 2014 in Germany and continued with the Inspiration Truck driving across Hoover Dam in 2015.

The center will focus its activities on development, testing, and validation necessary for high levels of automation. This includes software, sensors, machine learning, and simulation, as well as the necessary adaptation of the base vehicle platform. The Automated Truck R&D Center also will be a center for “co-creation,” where customers, suppliers, and business partners can provide input, ensuring the technology will work in real-life applications.

Engineers there will draw on research and development resources from Daimler Trucks locations in Stuttgart, Germany, and Bangalore, India, to form a global network of hundreds of engineers devoted to the topic of automated driving, leveraging the experience and knowledge from previous research performed across Daimler’s vehicle divisions, including passenger cars. The three locations will work very closely together, while R&D activities on automated trucks in Germany will also be expanded to expedite and deepen the company’s efforts in this field.

DTNA already has a significant research and development presence here, including a full-scale heavy-duty truck wind tunnel on Swan Island and the High Desert Proving Grounds nearby in Madras, Oregon.

The research center was announced during Daimler Trucks Capital Market and Technology Day on June 6, where vehicle pairing, incorporating advanced vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications between two trucks and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), were demonstrated for global journalists and investors.

The new facility is part of the company’s plans to invest more than €2.5 billion ($2.95 billion) in total research and development activities in 2018 and 2019 with more than €500 million ($588 million) of that earmarked for e-mobility, connectivity and automated commercial vehicle technology.

Stay tuned for more reports from HDT Editor in Chief Deborah Lockridge, who is covering this special event from Portland.

Related: Daimler Pumping R&D into Electric Trucks, Connectivity, Autonomous Trucks

About the author
Deborah Lockridge

Deborah Lockridge

Editor and Associate Publisher

Reporting on trucking since 1990, Deborah is known for her award-winning magazine editorials and in-depth features on diverse issues, from the driver shortage to maintenance to rapidly changing technology.

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