Daimler Self-Driving Electric Truck Revealed

Vehicle manufacturer says it plans to have production self-driving trucks on American roads within three years

Graham Hope

May 13, 2024

2 Min Read
A Daimler Truck self-driving electric truck.
Daimler Truck

Daimler Truck is powering toward a driverless future on U,S, roads – and has dropped a big hint as to what’s in store.

The company, one of the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturers, has revealed the autonomous Freightliner eCascadia technology demonstrator, which has been created to showcase the combined benefits of electric propulsion and self-driving tech.

The semi is based on the current production Freightliner eCascadia, and features lidar, radar and cameras, a powerful compute stack and autonomous driving software from Daimler subsidiary Torc Robotics.

Although billed as a “research and advanced engineering project,” the AV is said to have the potential to evolve into a modular, scalable platform that could be used with different powertrains across a range of applications.

Daimler did not provide much detail regarding the specification of the technology demonstrator, other than to say it “is designed with many commonalities with the production eCascadia.”


The latter was launched in 2022, and comes with several battery and drive axle options, providing a range of 155, 220 or 230 miles, depending on configuration. It could be assumed, then, that an autonomous version would be used for short, regional hub-to-hub deployments.

Related:Self-Driving Trucks Pilot Planned by Daimler Company

The demonstrator marks the first time that Daimler has paired self-driving tech with the electric Cascadia, with the company’s autonomous testing thus far carried out on diesel versions. The smaller day cab layout of the EV presented some specific challenges with the packaging, with the compute stack – positioned between the driver and passenger seats – requiring an advanced air-cooling system.

Daimler says it plans to have production self-driving trucks on American roads within three years, but despite the obvious potential of the eCascadia, the first autonomous offerings will be powered by diesel.

Joanna Buttler, head of global autonomous technology at Daimler Truck, said: “Together with Torc, we are making significant progress towards introducing autonomous trucks in the U.S. by 2027. 

“While we target autonomous trucks with conventional propulsion technology for this first market launch, we always look further into the future. We will employ an iterative approach to the development, testing and optimization of autonomous-electric technology while exploring the most promising use cases in collaboration with our fleet customers.”

Hydrogen-powered autonomous trucks are also being considered for future development.

Torc has been testing “autonomous-ready” Cascadia trucks for more than a year on a route between Phoenix, Arizona, and Oklahoma City with partners such as transportation companies C.R. England and Schneider.

About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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