Daimler, a German automotive company, has been testing its autonomous trucks for a few years. And now the automaker has taken its Level 4 autonomous truck out on public roads in southwest Virginia, near the headquarters of Torc Robotics.
The tests will not be strictly driverless; all automated runs will require both an engineer to watch over the system and a highly trained safety driver certified by Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics. Nevertheless, this is an important step towards Daimler’ plans to commercially produce heavy-duty trucks that can drive themselves in most situations within the decade.
Daimler teamed up with startups TuSimple, Starsky Robotics and Embark in public testing of Level 4 technology that could eventually remove drivers from behind the wheel of freight haulers. This deployment on public roads takes place after months of extensive testing and safety validation on a closed-loop track.
The testings are underway, and the automaker expects a lot of work over the next decade, while the actual challenge is to refine the technology and make it truly road-ready. This kind of machines has to be intelligent enough to handle rough weather and complex environments without fail.