Daimler Trucks establishes new group to help bring Level 4 self-driving trucks to market

The Autonomous Technology Group wants this to happen within a decade.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
2 min read
Enlarge Image

In the future, automated trucks might use these lights to let drivers know whether a human is in charge of the truck or not.

Daimler Trucks

Daimler Trucks is one of several manufacturers dedicated to bringing advanced autonomy tech to the world of trucks. While there are plenty of benefits to this move, it's going to take a lot of hard work to actually achieve the goal of deploying self-driving trucks on the road, which is why Daimler Trucks wants to establish a dedicated arm of the company for that specific purpose.

Daimler Trucks this week announced the formation of the Autonomous Technology Group. This will act as a global organization designed to help introduce Level 4 (geo-fenced, mode-dependent) autonomy to the trucking industry. It hopes to achieve this goal within a decade. The automaker announced back at CES in January that it intended to devote more than $500 million to this cause.

The Autonomous Technology Group will be focused on the product itself, not marketing or advocacy or anything like that. Software development is a key part of its activities, as is sensor integration, as is ensuring proper integration of human and software driving modes. It will also establish a primary control center and satellite stations to manage the operations and infrastructure sides of the equation.

Some new friends will be joining the group, as well. Daimler Trucks plans to integrate Torc Robotics into the organization. The automaker recently announced its acquisition of Torc, and it has yet to pass regulatory muster, but if the takeover is successful, Torc will help Daimler Trucks develop its Level 4 autonomous truck. Like GM and Cruise Automation, Torc will continue to act as a separate business, keeping its name, team and management.

Don't think the group's efforts will be contained to trucks. According to Daimler, the Autonomous Technology Group's developments will be shared across the greater Daimler empire, which includes its automotive arm. So there's a good chance that whatever we see on Daimler's trucks in the near future will also make its way to the company's vehicles in future generations.

Check out the Level 2 Freightliner Cascadia big rig at CES 2019

See all photos
Watch this: An autonomous trip through Jerusalem in Intel's ride