Daimler Trucks has established a global Autonomous Technology Group, bringing together its worldwide automated driving expertise and activities. The new group started operations on June 1.
The operation is part of Daimler Trucks’ global effort to put highly automated trucks onto the roads within a decade. To that end, the company has invested more than $570 million (EUR 500 million) in the technologies required.
The main goals of the new unit – which will have offices in Portland, Ore., and Blacksburg, Va., and Stuttgart, Germany – comprise overall strategy and implementation of the automated driving roadmap, including research and development as well as setting up the required operations infrastructure and network, heading towards the series production of highly automated trucks.
“We are the pioneer for automated trucks,” says Martin Daum, the member of Daimler’s board of management responsible for trucks and buses. “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 maximize 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.”
Peter Vaughan Schmidt, most recently head of strategy for Daimler Trucks, is leading the new organization.
“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 U.S.A. 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.”
Software development for highly automated driving will be one of the key activities of the Autonomous Technology Group, according to Daimler Trucks. Another will be ensuring redundancy in the chassis enabling the vehicle’s systems to take over roles of a professional driver while on the road, providing the highest safety. Still another will be integrating the automated driving sensor kit (camera, LiDAR, radar), which – together with a very accurate map – is responsible for ensuring that the highly automated truck finds its own way on the road.