Daimler Trucks tests self-driving vehicles in US Southwest - Albuquerque Journal

Daimler Trucks tests self-driving vehicles in US Southwest

SANTA FE, N.M. — Daimler Trucks and allied vehicle software company Torc Robotics announced Thursday the expansion of testing for self-driving trucks to public roads in New Mexico along major long-haul freight routes.

The companies have established a new testing center in Albuquerque, as they begin automated runs for 18-wheel vehicles with autonomous diving technology on public highways — supported by a human driver and a safety conductor.

Daimler’s Autonomous Technology Group has taken aim at commercializing self-driving trucks within a decade, and the new testing location complements ongoing research on roadways in Virginia with milder weather and fewer steep hills.

“The reason that we started the test center in Southwest is, one, there’s a lot of cargo that gets transported in that region,” Torc Robotics CEO Michael Fleming said. “We’re not really faced with severe snow and ice like we find it the Northeast, and at the same time, the environmental terrain is a little bit easier as well.”

Arizona already serves as a major testing ground for autonomous vehicles, including a public-private partnership involving major public universities that was announced in 2018. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey suspended Uber’s self-driving vehicle testing privileges in March 2018 in the wake of a pedestrian fatality in a Phoenix suburb.

Daimler’s testing routes in New Mexico are not publicly disclosed, thought the trucks are prominently labeled as Daimler autonomous-driving vehicles.

The on-board, self-driving technology keeps trucks on track by using a combination of sensors that employ radar, cameras and lasers for measuring distances.

In a news release, the companies said all automated runs require both a safety conductor and a safety driver who holds a commercial driver’s license and undergoes special training in extreme vehicle dynamics and automated systems.

Fleming said that engineering challenges in autonomous trucking revolve around responses to other moving vehicles.

“The real challenge comes when we have bad actors or other vehicles on the road doing things that they shouldn’t be doing,” he said. “When you have one bad actor, it’s not that complicated. But when you have clusters of bad actors, things become much more challenging and difficult. One of the things that we’ve spent a lot of time doing is figuring out what’s the most appropriate action or behavior in some of these complex situations.”

Torc says it has tested its self-driving vehicle system in many states in the U.S., including a cross country trip in 2017.

The New Mexico research center suggests an increasing commitment to autonomous driving by Daimler Trucks & Buses, which delivered roughly a half-million trucks and buses to customers in 2019.

Home » Business » Most Recent Biz News » Daimler Trucks tests self-driving vehicles in US Southwest


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Netflix launches interactive site of its New Mexico productions
ABQnews Seeker
Netflix to launch interactive site of ... Netflix to launch interactive site of its New Mexico productions
2
Early release for inmates under scrutiny in race for ...
2022 election
Ronchetti has said he will push ... Ronchetti has said he will push for legislation to stiffen criminal penalties
3
Hurricane Ian heads for Carolinas after pounding Florida
ABQnews Seeker
A revived Hurricane Ian threatened coastal ... A revived Hurricane Ian threatened coastal South Carolina and the historic city of Charleston with severe flooding Friday after the deadly storm caused catastrophic ...
4
Amid pressure, Ivey-Soto gives up committee post
ABQnews Seeker
As it stands now, the committee's ... As it stands now, the committee's vice chairman is Democrat Leo Jaramillo of Española
5
1 dead in reported shooting in Southwest Albuquerque
ABQnews Seeker
Witness says that a spray of ... Witness says that a spray of bullets came through a window
6
$2.5 billion for fire damage relief included in spending ...
ABQnews Seeker
People, businesses and other groups, such ... People, businesses and other groups, such as acequias, can apply for relief
7
Courts look to alter cannabis expungement
ABQnews Seeker
Citing strain, chief justice says individuals ... Citing strain, chief justice says individuals should need to apply for process
8
Balloon Fiesta will have heftier security
ABQnews Seeker
Officials considered large-scale events elsewhere in ... Officials considered large-scale events elsewhere in the US
9
Wrongful death suit over vet's death settled
ABQnews Seeker
Lawsuit had alleged medical negligence at ... Lawsuit had alleged medical negligence at Truth or Consequences facility
10
BernCo extends manager's contract for another three years
ABQnews Seeker
New agreement also boosts annual salary ... New agreement also boosts annual salary from $195K to $215K