Automotive

Daimler's autonomous truck hits public roads in Virginia

Daimler's autonomous truck hit...
Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics are development and testing trucks with Level 4 autonomous technology on public roads in Virginia
Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics are development and testing trucks with Level 4 autonomous technology on public roads in Virginia
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Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics are development and testing trucks with Level 4 autonomous technology on public roads in Virginia
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Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics are development and testing trucks with Level 4 autonomous technology on public roads in Virginia
The suite of sensors and writing on the trailer may give the game away
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The suite of sensors and writing on the trailer may give the game away
After extensive testing on a closed loop track, the Level 4 autonomous truck is now rolling down highways in southwest Virginia
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After extensive testing on a closed loop track, the Level 4 autonomous truck is now rolling down highways in southwest Virginia

Daimler has been testing self-driving trucks for a few years now, rolling out the first to travel on public roads back in 2015. Now, after extensive testing on a closed loop track, the automaker has taken its Level 4 autonomous truck out on public roads in Virginia.

The latest tests are taking place on highways near the headquarters of Torc Robotics in southwest Virginia. The recently acquired automated driving tech developer is responsible for a system known as Asimov – after writer Isaac Asimov who devised the Three Laws of Robotics – that's been tested in both urban and long-distance routes and in various conditions, and has now become part of the Autonomous Technology Group of Daimler Trucks.

To other road users, the test truck looks pretty much like any number of standard trucks rolling down the highway – though the writing on the side of the trailer and array of sensors might give its purpose away.

The suite of sensors and writing on the trailer may give the game away
The suite of sensors and writing on the trailer may give the game away

Unlike the striking Vera vehicle from Volvo Trucks, the Daimler truck has a systems engineer and a safety driver in the cabin who are ready to take over if needed.

"As we pair Daimler's expertise in building safe and reliable trucks with Torc's genius in engineering Level 4 vehicles, we have no doubt we will do great things in the future," said Roger Nielsen of Daimler Truck North America LLC. "We look forward to writing history together. The US highways are the perfect place to develop automated driving technology."

Source: Daimler

5 comments
paul314
As we've found out tragically in cars, safety driver is a really hard job: don't do anything at all 99+ percent of the time, but be ready to react instantly and effectively in an emergency. I wish them luck.
guzmanchinky
I hope this becomes commonplace. Human are just not good at driving. Or at least the computer needs to intervene if there is ever an imminent crash...
Hugh Shipman
Not so much a real article. This is just a press release from the company full of glowing statements about itself. Here's my question: what and where is the DOT's position on this? Our publicly-built roads are not supposed to be used as "test beds" for whatever thing some corporation wants to try out. I'm flabbergasted by the comment "America's highways are the perfect place to test this technology". Holy moly, that's arrogant. The real push for driverless vehicles are corporations that just want to get rid of people. One of the largest unions still in existence in the US is the truckers union and corporations would love to kill that. Driverless technology is a solution in search of a non-existent problem. People have already died in driverless tests out west a few years ago. Where is that in this propaganda piece by Daimler? Oh wait. Information such as that has no place in a propaganda piece.
DavidIngram
The idiots are out there already thinking up ways to mess with driverless vehicles. OSHA protects them and they multiply.
ljaques
I'm with Guz. Humans have way too much trouble steering, let alone DRIVING. Robots don't have unions and go on strike, or file sex charges, or get sick, or require expensive health care packages and vacations. What's not to like, for the corp? We'll just need to find another way to retrain and retask the people out of jobs. Some can be shunted to maintenance and repair, others to computer work, and others to other employment. I retrained for computer electronics technology work when I hurt my back and bowed out of auto repair. The only people who will have a hard time are those who are not flexible. What I want to see are the robots who can absorb and then perform the wondrous feats these ancient truck drivers perform on a daily basis, like backing a set of dualies into a long alley with 6" of clearance on either side. Imagine no bad breath or body odors from a hot taxi cab driver in the summer, and instant rerouting when there's an accident in front of you! Good luck, Daimler. And be sure to release your findings to all other autonomous driving mfgrs when you perfect it. Pay it forward!