Albuquerque-based self-driving truck developer, Torc Robotics, is making significant strides in its autonomous driving technology and preparing for the launch of its virtual driver product by 2027. The company, a subsidiary of Daimler Truck, is conducting pilots with major motor carriers to fine-tune its technology and develop a comprehensive plan for autonomous fleet operations.
Torc recently showcased its progress and outlined its commercialization plans during a press event at its research and development center in Albuquerque. The company’s CEO, Peter Vaughan Schmidt, emphasized that autonomous trucks will revolutionize the transportation industry by enabling faster and safer freight transport while alleviating driver recruiting and retention challenges.
By automating highway driving between designated freight hubs, autonomous trucks have the potential to shift driver jobs toward local and regional routes, offering more home time and lower turnover rates. This technology not only benefits fleets but also contributes to society as a whole.
Schmidt predicts that the barrier of entry for autonomous trucking will be relatively low, with a payback time of less than a year for those who invest in autonomous trucks. Torc’s virtual driver will be available in a modified version of the Freightliner Cascadia, specifically designed to support autonomous driving.
While Torc’s focus remains on hub-to-hub, on-highway transportation, the company recognizes the need for strategically located freight hubs. These hubs can be adapted from existing terminals, distribution centers, or warehouses near interstate highways, minimizing the need for massive investments in new infrastructure.
Despite the emphasis on highway driving, Torc acknowledges the importance of ensuring autonomous trucks can handle difficult driving conditions they may encounter on the road. During a ride-along demonstration, Torc’s autonomous driving system successfully navigated challenging situations such as lane changes in heavy traffic, cloverleaf interchanges, and intersections with stoplights and crosswalks.
Torc Robotics is poised to bring autonomous trucks to the market, providing fleets with a transformative solution for faster and more efficient freight transport. With a target launch date of 2027, the company is focused on perfecting its technology and collaborating with industry partners to establish a robust ecosystem for autonomous fleet operations.
1. What is Torc Robotics?
Torc Robotics is a self-driving truck developer and a subsidiary of Daimler Truck. They specialize in autonomous driving technology and are actively working towards the market launch of their virtual driver product.
2. When is Torc Robotics planning to launch their autonomous trucks?
Torc Robotics aims to launch its autonomous trucks by 2027. They are currently conducting pilots with major motor carriers to fine-tune their technology and prepare for autonomous fleet operations.
3. How will autonomous trucks benefit fleets and society?
Autonomous trucks have the potential to transport freight faster, safer, and at a lower cost. They can also address long-standing driver recruitment and retention challenges faced by fleets. Additionally, autonomous trucks can contribute to society by improving transportation efficiency.
4. What is Torc’s approach to autonomous trucking?
Torc Robotics is focused on hub-to-hub, on-highway transportation as the first step towards autonomous trucking. They aim to automate stretches of highway driving between designated freight hubs, while still ensuring that the technology can handle difficult driving conditions.
5. What type of truck will Torc’s virtual driver be available with?
Torc’s virtual driver will be available with a modified version of the Freightliner Cascadia. The truck will have redundant systems and components specifically designed to support autonomous driving.