Several automakers which have invested millions of dollars in self-driving vehicles have planned to integrate the new tech into ride-sharing and ride-hailing vehicles before it finds its way into personal cars.
In the same breath, German auto giant Daimler Trucks has confirmed that it will buy a majority stake in self-driving truck software maker Torc Robotics as part of a broader push to develop autonomous vehicles.
The Virginia headquartered company is expected to help the German truck maker accelerate software development by giving access to its 120 skilled staff, Daimler Daimler Trucks Chief Executive Martin Daum said.
The American company will continue to develop its Asimov self-driving software at its Blacksburg facility.
Torc has developed technology that allows vehicles to operate at Level 4 automation. This will help Daimler to accelerate its own plans for commercializing self-driving vehicles.
“Torc’s Level 4 system has been shown to operate well for both urban and highway driving in rain, snow, fog, and sunshine,” said Roger Nielsen, CEO of Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), which includes the market-leading Freightliner brand.
The German auto giant currently operates with Level 2 automation system on its trucks, helping the vehicle brake, accelerate and steer using radar along with camera systems that make partially automated driving possible.
Torc will help the German carmaker accelerate software development by giving access to its 120 skilled staff.
“Bringing Torc Robotics within the Daimler Trucks family creates a unique and powerful team of innovators to put highly automated trucks on the road,” Daum said.
In addition to this, the American company will continue to develop its Asimov self-driving software at its Blacksburg facility while Daimler Trucks will work further on evolving its self-driving technology at its Automated Truck Research & Development Center in Portland.
This news comes a few days after Daimler announced that it will be resurrecting the Smart as an EV brand in China alongside Zhejiang Geely. Following an official statement on Thursday, Daimler stated that the 50-50 joint venture, aims to generate Smart models in a purpose-built electric-car factory in China with global sales expected to commence in 2022.