Luminar Technologies, an autonomous vehicle sensor and software company, and Daimler Trucks have agreed a strategic partnership to enable highly automated – or autonomous – trucking, starting on highways.
Experts at Daimler Trucks, its US subsidiary, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) and Torc Robotics, part of Daimler Trucks’ Autonomous Technology Group, with the experts at Luminar are collaboratively pursuing a common goal of bringing series-produced highly automated trucks (SAE Level 4) to roads globally.
The teams will work closely together in order to enhance lidar sensing, perception, and system-level performance for Daimler trucks moving at highway speeds. To strengthen the partnership, Daimler Trucks has acquired a minority stake in Luminar.
Dr Peter Vaughan Schmidt, head of autonomous technology group at Daimler Trucks, says: “Luminar has pioneered a critical enabling technology for bringing automated vehicles to the road, and we’re excited to work closely with them to drive this technology forward.
“Their company has proven visionary in its focus and unique ability to enable long-range sensing and high-speed driving on the highway. Our common goal is to enable safe deployment of highly automated trucks and shape the future of the trucking and logistics industry at large.”
The autonomous trucks are expected to yield dramatic improvements in efficiency and safety of logistics, with an initial focus on long-haul routes on highways.
This constrained application of autonomy enables the technology to be commercially deployed in series production on nearer term time frames compared to urban autonomous driving development.
Austin Russell, Luminar’s founder and CEO, says: “Our partnership with Daimler Trucks is spearheading the next era of commercial transportation, taking the multi-trillion global trucking and logistics industry head-on.
“The business case for autonomous trucking is incredibly strong, and now is seeing the first OEM program to bring it to the world.“
Michael Fleming, CEO of Torc Robotics, says: “We are excited by the opportunity to work with Luminar and their long-range, high resolution Lidar to improve truck safety and enable us to commercialize self-driving trucks. This is a critical, enabling technology on our development path.”
The partnership between Luminar and Daimler Trucks will extend beyond providing critical automotive technology solutions. As part of their joint commitment to safety, the companies will also collaborate on safety standards and operating practices, and make future policy advancements and safety enhancements as a result of the joint program.