Photo: Daimler
Earlier this year Daimler took a majority stake in Torc Robotics, which is now part of Daimler’s autonomous technology group.

Daimler testing Level 4 automated trucks on Virginia roads

Sept. 6, 2019
Daimler Trucks announced it has begun testing Level 4 automated trucks on public highways in southwest Virginia with Torc Robotics.  

Daimler Trucks announced it has started testing Level 4 automated trucks on public highways in southwest Virginia with Torc Robotics.   

Martin Daum, head of Daimler’s global truck and bus unit, said at the CES show in January that Daimler planned to bring highly automated trucks to the United States within a decade. Several months later Daimler took a majority stake in Torc, which was founded in 2005 and based in Blacksburg, VA.

"Bringing Level 4 trucks to the public roads is a major step toward our goal to deliver reliable and safe trucks for the benefits of our customers, our economies and society,” Daum said. 

The automated trips require an engineer overseeing the system and a certified safety driver trained in vehicle dynamics and automated systems. The deployment on public roads takes place after months of testing and validation on a closed loop track.

Torc is now part of Daimler’s autonomous technology group, which has locations in Blacksburg, Portland, OR, and Stuttgart, Germany. 

“Our whole team is thrilled to be working alongside our Daimler colleagues as we pursue the commercialization of Level 4 trucks to bring this technology to the market because we strongly believe it can save lives,” said Michael Fleming, CEO of Torc Robotics, whose automated technology is known as  “Asimov.”

In a news release, Daimler also said it is working on a truck chassis perfectly suited for highly automated driving, particularly the redundancy of systems needed to provide reliability and safety.

The company is also building an infrastructure required for the testing of initial application cases. This consists of a main control center and logistics hubs located along critical freight corridors where many customers operate. 

About the Author

Neil Abt

Neil Abt, editorial director at Fleet Owner, is a veteran journalist with over 20 years of reporting experience, including 15 years spent covering the trucking industry. A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., he began his career covering sports for The Washington Post newspaper, followed by a position in the newsroom of America Online (AOL) and then both reporting and leadership roles at Transport Topics. Abt is based out of Portland, Oregon.

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