STUTTGART, Germany / PALO ALTO, Calif. — Today, Luminar Technologies, Inc., the global leader in automotive lidar hardware and software technology, and the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, Daimler Truck AG, announced a strategic partnership to enable highly automated trucking, starting on highways. Experts at Daimler Trucks, its U.S. subsidiary, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) and Torc Robotics, part of Daimler Trucks’ Autonomous Technology Group, with the experts at Luminar will work closely together in order to enhance lidar sensing, perception, and system-level performance for Daimler trucks moving at highway speeds. To strengthen the partnership, Daimler Trucks has acquired a minority stake in Luminar.
Dr. Peter Vaughan Schmidt, Head of Autonomous Technology Group at Daimler Trucks said “Luminar has pioneered a critical enabling technology for bringing automated vehicles to the road, and we’re excited to work closely with them to drive this technology forward. Their company has proven visionary in its focus and unique ability to enable long-range sensing and high-speed driving on the highway. Our common goal is to enable the safe deployment of highly automated trucks and shape the future of the trucking and logistics industry at large.”
The autonomous trucks are expected to yield dramatic improvements in efficiency and safety of logistics, with an initial focus on long-haul routes on highways. This constrained application of autonomy enables the technology to be commercially deployed in series production on nearer-term time frames compared to urban autonomous driving development.
“Our partnership with Daimler Trucks is spearheading the next era of commercial transportation, taking the multi-trillion global trucking and logistics industry head-on,” said Austin Russell, Luminar’s founder and CEO. “The business case for autonomous trucking is incredibly strong, and now is seeing the first program to bring it to the world.“
Michael Fleming, CEO of Torc Robotics: “We are excited by the opportunity to work with Luminar and their long-range, high-resolution lidar to improve truck safety and enable us to commercialize self-driving trucks. This is a critical, enabling technology on our development path.”
The partnership between Luminar and Daimler Trucks will extend beyond providing critical automotive technology solutions. As part of their joint commitment to safety, the companies will also collaborate on safety standards and operating practices, and make future policy advancements and safety enhancements as a result of the joint program.
Daimler Trucks’ and Torc Robotics’ Successful Collaboration and Achievements
Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics, Blacksburg, Virginia, based automated driving technology company, started their collaboration in spring 2019. In September of the same year, Torc Robotics became part of Daimler Trucks’ Autonomous Technology Group. Both partners focus on the on-road deployment of a Level 4 test fleet, initiation of the redesign of truck chassis, formalized rigorous testing protocols, formal truck safety driver certification process, and extended software capabilities. The Autonomous Technology Group is currently extending its testing to New Mexico by building up a new testing center in Albuquerque. Expanding to a new location will support testing and provide data for more use cases of next-generation vehicles on public roads starting in 2020. Initial public road testing on highways began already in September 2019 in southwest Virginia. Additionally, closed-track road testing is conducted in Madras, Oregon, at DTNA’s High Desert Proving Grounds.
Torc Robotics: Software Experts, Part of the Daimler Trucks Family
The combination of Torc’s and Daimler Trucks’ strengths creates a unique partnership – blending Torc’s expertise in self-driving software development and vehicle integration with Daimler Trucks’ experience in delivering reliable and safe trucks. By offering advanced, road-ready technology, plus years of experience in heavy vehicles, Torc has grown into a global industry leader in the field of automated driving. Torc’s SAE Level 4 virtual driver system has been integrated and tested successfully in multiple platforms running on public roads from urban to long-distance highway routes as well as in rain, snow, fog and varying light conditions.
Daimler Trucks, The Pioneer of Automated Trucks
Daimler Trucks is the pioneer of truck automation. In 2014, the world’s leading truck manufacturer presented the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025, the world’s first automated truck, and was the first to demonstrate the technological opportunities and great potential that automated trucks offer customers and society. In 2015, Daimler’s Freightliner Inspiration Truck obtained the first-ever road license for a partially automated commercial vehicle demonstrating the promise of automated driving on the highways of Nevada. Today, Daimler offers partially automated driving features (SAE Level 2) with the Mercedes-Benz Actros, the Freightliner Cascadia and the FUSO Super Great.
Daimler Trucks North America develops redundant vehicle chassis and infrastructure
Portland-based DTNA is refining a truck chassis that is perfectly suited for highly automated driving as well as the redundancy of systems needed to achieve safe, reliable driving. As part of the Autonomous Technology Group, DTNA is also researching the infrastructure required for the operational testing of initial application cases. DTNA is contributing to the successful development of automated driving technology and vehicle integration for heavy-duty trucks.
Luminar is an autonomous vehicle sensor and software company with the vision to make self-driving safe and ubiquitous by delivering the only lidar and perception platform that meets the industry’s stringent performance, safety, and economic requirements. Luminar has rapidly gained 50 industry partners, including 7 of the top 10 global automotive OEMs. Founded in 2012, Luminar is a 350-person team with offices in Palo Alto, Orlando, Colorado Springs, Detroit, and Munich. For more information please visit www.luminartech.com.
In August 2020, Luminar announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to merge with Gores Metropoulos, Inc. (“Gores Metropoulos”) (Nasdaq: GMHI, GMHIU and GMHIW), a special purpose acquisition company sponsored by an affiliate of The Gores Group, LLC. Upon completion of the transaction, Luminar will be listed on the Nasdaq under the new ticker symbol “LAZR”.
About Daimler Trucks North America
Daimler Trucks North America, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Daimler Trucks North America is a Daimler company, the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.