Daimler Trucks sets up Autonomous Technology Group

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  • Plant & Equipment

Global truckmaking group to focus automated-driving effort with new unit


Daimler Trucks’ new automated driving-focused arm, Autonomous Technology Group (ATG), will be open for business tomorrow.

With an investment of more than Euro500 million (A$806 million), the new unit aims to implement Daimler Trucks’ well-publicised effort to put highly automated trucks (SAE level 4) onto the roads within a decade.

An international initiative but with Daimler highlighting its distinctly American flavour, ATG's main activities are to include software development, chassis redundancy, sensor kit integration and operations infrastructure.

It is to be led, in a newly created position, by Daimler Trucks head of strategy Peter Vaughan Schmidt, who has been responsible for the development of Daimler Trucks’ automated vehicles approach.

"With the Autonomous Technology Group, we are bringing together our global experts and their vast knowledge in automated trucking," Schmidt says.

"In the first stage, we will focus on use cases of highly automated driving in defined areas and between defined hubs in the USA.

"In doing so, we will work closely together with customers whose business matches this automated driving application.  

"We will not only develop the respective technology but also set up the required operations infrastructure and network."

While the initiative will involve Daimler’s Stuttgart headquarters and Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) HQ in Portland, ATG is to incorporate the newly acquired Blacksburg-based self-driving technology firm Torc Robotics, subject to regulatory approval.

"This new global organisation will enable us to even stronger evolve the technology for highly automated driving and vehicle integration for heavy-duty trucks at our Automated Truck Research & Development Center in Portland," DTNA CEO Roger Nielsen says.

"We’re fully committed to demonstrating the enormous advantages of highly automated driving first here in the USA."

Daimler Trucks says software development will tackle two major strands:

redundancy in the chassis enabling the vehicle’s systems to take over roles of a professional driver while on the road

 the automated driving sensor kit integration (camera, lidar, radar), which, together with accurate mapping – is to be responsible for ensuring that the highly automated truck finds its own way on the road.

Meanwhile, the operations infrastructure and network ATG is to set up will consist of one main vehicle control center as well as additional stations at logistics hubs.

"We are the pioneer for automated trucks Daimler AG board member for trucks and buses Martin Daum asserts.

"With the formation of our global Autonomous Technology Group, we are taking the next step, underscoring the importance of highly automated driving for Daimler Trucks, the industry and society as well.

"With the new unit, we will maximise the effectiveness of our automated driving efforts and the impact of our investments in this key strategic technology.

"We will therefore be in the perfect position to put highly automated driving onto the roads, making transportation safer, saving lives and helping trucking companies boost their productivity."


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