Daimler Trucks is acquiring a majority stake in Torc Robotics to accelerate its development of self-driving trucks.
Torc Robotics, based in Blacksburg, Virginia, has developed an autonomous software solution for mobility applications including self-driving cars and transit vehicles. It has integrated its self-driving solutions on ground vehicles ranging from SUVs to 300-ton mining trucks.
“With the ever rising demand for road transport, 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,” said Torc chief executive Michael Fleming.
Roger Nielsen, chief executive of Daimler Trucks North America, said: “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.”
The Torc team will work 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.
Daimler Trucks North America 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.