Daimler opens automated truck R&D center in the US
Daimler said it is currently working with customers to trial truck platooning in the country
Daimler Trucks has announced the inauguration of its automated truck research and development center in Portland, Oregon.
The center will be dedicated to further developing automated driving technology and understanding its impact on society and benefits for customers, the company said.
At the new R&D facility, engineers there will draw on research and development resources from Daimler Trucks locations in Stuttgart, Germany and Bangalore, India to form a global network of hundreds of engineers devoted to the topic of automated driving. The company also highlighted that R&D activities on automated trucks in Germany will also be expanded to expedite and deepen the company’s efforts in this field.
The new facility is part of the company’s plans to invest more than €2.5 billion ($2.9 billion) in total research and development activities in 2018 and 2019 with more than €500 million of that earmarked for e-mobility, connectivity and automated commercial vehicle technology.
“We are pioneering technologies across the automated vehicle spectrum that make roads safer and help trucking companies boost productivity,” said Sven Ennerst, head of truck product engineering and global procurement for Daimler Trucks China. “This center of excellence is part of our global innovation network and supports the Daimler Trucks ethos of rigorously testing new technologies, ensuring systems are developed safely and functionality is fully validated before it is released to customers.”
Daimler Trucks said that fully autonomous commercial trucks will not be series-produced in the near future. However, the manufacturer believes the technology has the potential to create numerous advantages for the global logistics industry by helping fleets to keep up with ever-increasing freight demands as the pool of long-haul truck drivers continues to decrease.
Daimler’s new R&D center will focus its activities on all aspects of development, testing, and validation necessary for high levels of automation, including software, sensors, machine learning, and simulation, as well as the necessary adaptation of the base vehicle platform. The automated truck R&D center will also allow customers, suppliers, and business partners to provide input about automation technologies.
“Our approach to developing highly automated driving technology will draw upon our proven expertise and long history of commercializing safe, reliable, and fully integrated commercial vehicles,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America. “We are again aiming for a fully integrated, proven Daimler solution that will provide the best tool for our customers’ needs.” Nielsen added, “We can accomplish this with a combination of vehicle road testing over millions of miles around the globe and advanced simulation. The global collaboration that takes place among research and development teams at Daimler extends to vans, buses and passenger cars, and each advancement is a building block for the future of automated vehicles.”
Daimler said it has recently demonstrated platooning with paired trucks as part of the Daimler Trucks Capital Market and Technology Day at Portland International Raceway.
The company also said that the first real-world operation testing of platooning in the U.S. is in preparation. Daimler said it is currently working with some customers on the technology to validate the practicality of hauling commercial freight with platooned vehicles.