In the transport industry, Level 4 is regarded as the next logical step after Level 2 to increase safety, efficiency and productivity. Daimler’s new Autonomous Technology Group will have a global presence; its experts work at various locations within Daimler’s worldwide development network. These include Portland and Blacksburg in the USA and Stuttgart in Germany. With the establishment and deployment of a test fleet, further locations will be added. The Blacksburg-based company Torc Robotics will be part of the newly founded Autonomous Technology Group, provided the US authorities approve the acquisition.
The development of software for highly automated driving is one of the main areas of activity of the Autonomous Technology Group. Another is the so-called vehicle project: On the one hand, it is responsible for the redundancy of the vehicle chassis, so that the vehicle systems can take over the tasks of the driver in traffic and thus guarantee maximum safety. On the other hand, the vehicle project also deals with the integration of sensors for automated driving (camera, lidar, radar), which together with a highly accurate map are responsible for ensuring that the fully automated truck is able to navigate in traffic. The infrastructure and network for the operational use of vehicles, which will be set up by the Autonomous Technology Group as another main activity, consists of a main control centre for the vehicles and further stations at the logistics hubs.
Daimler Trucks will continue to work closely with Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz Cars passenger car division in the development of technology for automated driving in order to exploit maximum synergies, the company said.
Daimler is regarded as a pioneer in automated trucks. As early as 2014, the company presented the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025, the world’s first automated truck, and demonstrated the technical possibilities and great potential of automated trucks for business and society. In 2015, Daimler’s Freightliner Inspiration Truck became the first semi-automated commercial vehicle ever to be approved for road use. In the same year, the world premiere of the Mercedes-Benz Actros with Highway Pilot took place on public roads.
With immediate effect, Dr. Peter Vaughan Schmidt, previously Head of Strategy at Daimler Trucks, will head the Autonomous Technology Group. In his previous position, Schmidt has already developed the strategy for automated vehicles at Daimler Trucks.