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Daimler Trucks sets up global organisation for highly automated driving

Daimler Trucks is establishing the Autonomous Technology Group as a global organisation for automated driving, bringing together its worldwide expertise and activities, as of June 1.

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 towards the series production of highly automated trucks (SAE level 4).

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 announced an investment of more than 500 million euros (USD 570 million) at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. In commercial trucking, level 4 is the logical next step after level 2 to increase safety as well as efficiency and productivity.

Martin Daum, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Trucks & Buses stated: “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.

“With the new unit, we will maximise 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, global and cross-divisional organisation. In this position, he will continue to report directly to Martin Daum.

Main activities of the new unit are: software development, chassis redundancy, sensor kit integration and operations infrastructure

Software development for highly automated driving will be one of the key activities of the Autonomous Technology Group.

Another one will be the so-called vehicle project looking at redundancy in the chassis, enabling the vehicle’s systems to take over roles of a professional driver while on the road, and the automated driving sensor kit integration (camera, lidar, radar) for ensuring that the highly automated truck finds its own way on the road.

The operations infrastructure and network to be set up by the Autonomous Technology Group – another key activity – will consist of one main vehicle control centre as well as additional stations at logistics hubs.

The Autonomous Technology Group has a global reach with experts working in various locations throughout the company’s worldwide development network, i.e. in Portland and Blacksburg (U.S.A.) and Stuttgart (Germany).

More locations will follow as the test fleet is built up and deployed. The Blacksburg-based company Torc Robotics will be part of the newly established Autonomous Technology Group, pending the authorities’ approval of the acquisition recently announced by Daimler Trucks.