Daimler Trucks said it will acquire a majority stake in Torc Robotics in an effort to “commercialize highly automated trucks.” Torc provides software that enables vehicles to be self-driving. It currently works with Caterpillar in mining applications.
Torc will remain a separate entity, located in Blacksburg, Virginia, and will retain its team, led by CEO Michael Fleming. It will continue to develop and test its Asimov self-driving software.
“With the ever-rising demand for road transportation, 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,” Fleming said in a press release. “This move is in line with our mission of saving lives and represents another major milestone for Torc since crossing the finish line in the DARPA Urban Challenge 12 years ago.”
Torc’s work with Daimler will include collaboration with the research & development team of Daimler Trucks North America, which includes the Freightliner brand, in Portland, Oregon.
“Bringing Torc Robotics within the Daimler Trucks family creates a unique and powerful team of innovators to put highly automated trucks on the road,” said Martin Daum, member of the board of management for Daimler AG. “Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics complement each other perfectly in terms of resources, expertise, and skill sets. We are forming the ideal combination between Torc’s expertise on agile software development and our experience in delivering reliable and safe truck hardware. Together, we will provide a sustainable way for our customers to meet the ever-growing freight demand and benefit both the economy and society.”
Said Roger Nielsen, CEO of DTNA: “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.”
Source: Daimler Trucks North America