Daimler and Torc will develop autonomous trucks together
Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics are joining forces in a one-of-a-kind combination to commercialise highly automated trucks (SAE Level 4) on US roads. Going beyond an OEM/supplier relationship, the companies signed an agreement for Daimler AG’s subsidiary Daimler Trucks and Buses Holding, to acquire a majority stake in Torc Robotics for an undisclosed sum. Closing of the acquisition is subject to approval from US authorities.
CEO of Torc Robotics Michael Fleming, member of the board of management for Daimler Martin Daum, and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America Roger Nielsen announced the strategic move at Torc headquarters in Blacksburg, Virginia.
“With the ever rising demand for road transportation, not the least through e-commerce, there is a strong business case for self-driving trucks in the US market and I believe the fastest path to commercialisation for self-driving trucks is in partnership with Daimler Trucks, the OEM market leader. This move is in line with our mission of saving lives and represents another major milestone for Torc since crossing the finish line in the DARPA Urban Challenge 12 years ago,” said CEO of Torc Michael Fleming.
As part of the overall agreements, the Torc team will work closely with Daimler Trucks’ developers, particularly with the Research & Development team of Daimler Trucks North America in Portland, Oregon.
Torc will continue to develop its Asimov self-driving software and testing at its Blacksburg facility. At the same time, DTNA will focus on further evolving automated driving technology and vehicle integration for heavy-duty trucks at its Automated Truck Research & Development Centre in Portland. The DTNA team is working on a truck chassis perfectly suited for automated driving, particularly the redundancy of systems needed to provide the maximum level of reliability and safety.
Under the agreement, Torc will remain a separate entity retaining its name, team, existing customers, and facilities in Blacksburg. The partnership with Daimler Trucks will enable Torc to expand significantly its team, engage into the trucking market and service its growing customer base in other markets.