Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics, partners in Daimler Trucks’ Autonomous Technology Group, will soon expand testing of automated truck technology to new public routes in the U.S., the company announced.
According to Daimler, the team completed initial mapping of additional routes in January. These public road testing efforts allow the teams to collect data from real-world traffic scenarios, beyond what can be learned from computer simulations and closed road courses.
Initial public road testing started in southwest Virginia last year, where Torc is headquartered. The supportive state and local governments, combined with the well-developed infrastructure and highway systems, allow the teams to rigorously test, develop and deploy the automated system, according to Daimler. The Autonomous Technology Group will continue to test the next generation of automated driving software in Virginia and will add the upcoming new routes to the data collecting. This extensive testing is part of Daimler Trucks’ and Torc’s comprehensive validation approach to bring safe, highly automated trucks to the road.
“Safety is our highest priority,” said Peter Vaughan Schmidt, head, Autonomous Technology Group, Daimler Trucks. "By expanding our testing to new routes in the U.S., we are able to learn more, work with various partners, and apply our advanced testing methods to new environments. These learnings help us to achieve our goal of safe and reliable highly automated driving, delivering value to our customers and society.”
Strong Expertise in Vehicle and Software Testing
Daimler Trucks noted it has dozens of years of experience in testing and validating the durability, reliability, and safety of commercial vehicles around the world. With Active Drive Assist in Mercedes-Benz Actros and Fuso Super Great), and Detroit Assurance 5.0 with Active Lane Assist in Freightliner Cascadia, Daimler Trucks has brought partially automated driving features into series production.
Similarly, Daimler said, Torc’s Asimov autonomous driving system has been tested on public roads with zero accidents, including a cross-country journey.
Daimler Trucks and Torc said they have developed a comprehensive validation approach and safety protocols for automated driving and are aligned with the federal framework policy for testing and commercial deployment of SAE Level 4 automated trucks. All automated runs require both an engineer overseeing the system and a highly trained safety driver certified by Daimler Trucks and Torc. All safety drivers hold commercial driver’s licenses and are specially trained in vehicle dynamics and automated systems.
“Achieving our safety targets with highly automated driving systems requires extensive testing and building trust in the capabilities and benefits of these technologies," said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO, Daimler Trucks North America. "Proving the use case on U.S. roads is not only a technological challenge. It requires involvement and input from customers and drivers, legislators, local communities and the public. Each stakeholder plays an important role in developing the framework under which we operate."