Daimler Trucks, a Portland, Ore.-based division of the Daimler Group, announced plans to establish an Autonomous Technology Group for automated driving. The main tasks of the new unit 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 toward the series production of highly automated trucks.

The newly established Autonomous Technology Group is part of Daimler Trucks’ global effort to put highly automated trucks onto the roads within a decade. To achieve this, Daimler Trucks invested more than $570 million.

“We are the pioneer for automated trucks. 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,” says Martin Daum, member of the board of management of Daimler AG. “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.”

Effective June 1, Dr. Peter Vaughan Schmidt, who is currently head of strategy Daimler Trucks, will lead this new organization.

“With the autonomous technology group, we are bringing together our global experts and their vast knowledge in automated trucking,” he adds. “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.”

“We at DTNA are excited to have our automated driving efforts backed by the autonomous technology group,” says Roger Nielsen, chief executive officer of Daimler Trucks North America LLC (DTNA). “This new global organization 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. We’re fully committed to demonstrating the enormous advantages of highly automated driving first here in the USA.”

Software development for highly automated driving will be one of the key activities of the autonomous technology group.

Another one will be what’s called the vehicle project, responsible for the 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. The vehicle project will also take care of the automated driving sensor kit integration (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. The operations infrastructure and network will consist of one main vehicle control center as well as additional stations at logistics hubs.

The Autonomous Technology Group maintains a global reach with experts working in various locations throughout the company’s worldwide development network, i.e. in Portland and Blacksburg, Va., and Stuttgart, Germany. More locations will follow as the test fleet is built up and deployed. Torc Robotics, Blacksburg, Va., will be part of the newly established Autonomous Technology Group. Both companies complement each other, with Torc’s expertise in agile software development and Daimler Trucks’ experience in delivering safe truck hardware. Torc Robotics will remain a separate entity and retain its name, team, existing customers and facilities in Blacksburg. In addition, the founders of Torc Robotics will continue to be part of the company’s management team.