Daimler, the German automobile giant behind Mercedes-Benz, has started testing automated trucks on the roads of Virginia. The testing is done in the presence of safety drivers trained in automated systems, vehicle dynamics, and engineers for overseeing the whole process.
Daimler’s automated trucks have been developed in a partnership with a robotics-based startup Torc Robotics. The trucks will utilize self-driving software provided by Torc. According to the press release, these automated trucks come under level 4 of driving automation standards defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
“Bringing level 4 trucks to the public roads is a major step toward our goal to deliver reliable and safe trucks for the benefits of our customers, our economies, and society,” said Martin Daum, a member of the board of management of Daimler AG.
Notably, Daimler Trucks had announced its plans for investing $570 million for achieving Level 4 of automation in CES 2019 that took place earlier this year. This led to the establishment of Autonomous Technology Group, of which Torc Robotics is a part.
“As we pair Daimler’s expertise in building safe and reliable trucks with Torc’s genius in engineering Level 4 vehicles, we have no doubt we will do great things in the future. We look forward to writing history together. The U.S. highways are the perfect place to develop automated driving technology.”, said Roger Nielsen, CEO of Daimler Trucks North America.
Daimler’s own automated driving technology, however, is still at Level 2 as of now. They still require the driver to be engaged with the vehicle all the time. Steering capabilities will be provided in an upcoming update which will be widely available by the first quarter of 2020.
So, what are your thoughts on Daimler’s automated trucks? Tell us in the comments.