© Daimler General | April 01, 2019
Daimler Trucks picks up majority stake in Torc Robotics
Daimler Trucks, a division in the Daimler Group and manufacturer of heavy and medium trucks, and Torc Robotics, are partnering to commercialize highly-automated trucks (SAE Level 4) for U.S. highways.
The companies signed an agreement for Daimler Trucks and Buses Holding Inc., to acquire a majority stake in Torc Robotics for an undisclosed sum. The announcement was made Friday at Torc headquarters in Blacksburg, Virginia. According to a press release, the agreement will see the Torc team working closely with Daimler Trucks’ developers, including the R&D 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. Additionally, DTNA will focus on further evolving automated driving technology and vehicle integration for heavy-duty trucks at its Automated Truck Research & Development Center in Portland. Torc CEO Michael Fleming said, “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 U.S. market and I believe the fastest path to commercialization 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.” The last DARPA Urban Challenge was held on November 3, 2007 and required teams to build an autonomous vehicle capable of driving in traffic, performing complex maneuvers such as merging, passing, parking, and negotiating intersections. “Torc is not a start-up, but one of the world’s most experienced companies for vehicle automation. Torc takes a practical approach to commercialization and offers advanced, road-ready technology, plus years of experience in heavy vehicles. Torc’s Level 4 system has been shown to operate well for both urban and highway driving in rain, snow, fog, and sunshine,” said Roger Nielsen, CEO of Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), which includes the market-leading Freightliner brand.