May 12, 2023
Self-driving vehicle firm Torc Robotics has agreed to partner with transportation company C.R. England on an autonomous truck pilot.
Torc, an independent subsidiary of Daimler Truck, confirmed the strategic collaboration, which would leverage its fleet of autonomous trucks and C.R. England’s temperature-controlled loads for long-haul travel.
C.R. England is the second carrier to pilot with the Virginia-based firm, following its partnership with Schneider last year, with the new program seeing Torc expand into the refrigerated freight market for the first time.
Torc’s self-driving technology comprises an integrated suite of sensors incorporating cameras, long- and short-range lidar sensors, and long- and short-range radar, which are used to detect a truck’s surroundings, providing a 3D picture of the environment, identifying objects and calculating movement of nearby vehicles.
High-definition maps plot the safest routes, with localization and prediction algorithms delivering real-time updates. The result, says Torc, is functionality that can deal with complex driving situations such as lane changes, merges and sudden speed variations in traffic.
No specific details about the pilot have been released, other than that initial planning is due to get under way in “mid-2023” with on-road tests promised “soon after.”
The immediate priority is for the tests to deliver insights to help guide the development of the technology as Torc progresses towards commercialization.
“The data derived from the pilot will contribute to our safety and validation efforts and use cases for autonomous trucking,” said Peter Vaughan Schmidt, Torc CEO.
C. R. England, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, says the pilot can act as a launchpad to expand its network.
CEO Chad England said: “Specifically, by adding autonomous lanes to our network, we can expand our customer offerings and create more structured jobs for drivers at both ends of autonomous runs. Torc’s deep integration with Daimler Truck AG makes our two organizations a perfect fit for piloting this new technology.”
In recent weeks, other self-driving firms have announced partnerships as they try to give themselves the best chance of industrializing their technology profitably. Pittsburgh-based Aurora Innovation confirmed a deal with Continental, while Cupertino’s Plus is working with Bosch.
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