For the development of SAE Level 4 vehicles, Daimler Truck is pursuing a dual-track strategy in which it is cooperating with two strong partners: Waymo and Torc Robotics. The aim is to enable customers to choose the best autonomous driving solution for their company from two different products.
Another reason why partnerships are a decisive element in the dual-track strategy is that they enable the company to reach its goal more quickly and distribute the required investment among more participants. However, Daimler Truck is very precise in its choice of partners. A good example of this is how the cooperation with Waymo brought the respective sector leaders together. The goal is to combine Waymo’s autonomous driving technology with a version of the Freightliner Cascadia that has been specifically developed for this use case. This vehicle will be available in the USA in the coming years.
At the same time, Daimler Truck is also working together with Torc Robotics — a pioneer in the field of autonomous driving. This partnership is developing a specialised solution for handling the highway traffic between distribution hubs — and is to set the benchmarks for safety, reliability and costs per mile in the process. Although Daimler Truck is the majority owner of Torc, the latter operates as an independent subsidiary.
Since April 2022, Torc has also been working with major U.S. logistics companies to put autonomous trucks into practice. Torc has established the “Torc Autonomous Advisory Council” (TAAC) with key players in the logistics industry in order to integrate comprehensive industry expertise into its development process. The members of the committee include Schneider, Covenant Logistics, Penske Truck Leasing, Ryder System, Inc., C.H. Robinson and Baton as well as Daimler Truck North America as vehicle manufacturer. The companies advise Torc on the integration of autonomous systems into their processes and business models. This also includes operative topics that go beyond driving on the highway. With this “customer co-creation” approach, Torc is concentrating even more on specific customer requirements and specific business models of its own and is thus entering the next development phase. Daimler Truck and Torc continue to pursue the goal of developing autonomous trucks for long-haul transport. Both are aiming for market entry in a hub-to-hub case with SAE Level 4 autonomous trucks in the United States in 2027.