The initial routes are on highways in southwest Virginia, where Torc Robotics is headquartered. All automated runs require both an engineer overseeing the system and a highly trained safety driver certified by Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics. All safety drivers hold a commercial driver’s license and are specially trained in vehicle dynamics and automated systems.
The deployment on public roads takes place after months of extensive testing and safety validation on a closed loop track. As part of the comprehensive safety process by Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics, both test track and on-road validation play an integral role in establishing the essential building blocks for successfully advancing automated technology.
Martin Daum, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Trucks & Buses: “Torc Robotics is a leader in automated driving technology. Daimler Trucks is the market leader in trucks and we understand the needs of the industry. Bringing Level 4 trucks to the public roads is a major step toward our goal to deliver reliable and safe trucks for the benefits of our customers, our economies and society.”
Torc: software experts, part of the Daimler Trucks family
Based in the US, Torc is now part of Daimler Trucks. Authorities approved the majority stake acquisition by the truck manufacturer. Torc Robotics is now a part of the newly established Autonomous Technology Group of Daimler Trucks. The truck manufacturer is consolidating all its expertise and activities in automated driving into the global organization with locations in Blacksburg and Portland in the U.S. as well as in Stuttgart, Germany.
“Being part of Daimler Trucks is the start of a new chapter for Torc,” said Michael Fleming, CEO of Torc Robotics. “Our whole team is thrilled to be working alongside our Daimler colleagues as we pursue the commercialisation of Level 4 trucks to bring this technology to the market because we strongly believe it can save lives.”
Torc is one of the world’s most experienced companies in the field of automated driving – with highly sophisticated, roadworthy technology and years of expertise with heavy-duty commercial vehicles. “Asimov”, Torc’s system for automated driving, has been tested in urban and long-distance routes as well as in rain, snow, fog and varying light conditions.
Portland develops redundant vehicle chassis and infrastructure
Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) will focus on further evolving automated driving technology and vehicle integration for heavy-duty trucks. The DTNA team is working on a truck chassis perfectly suited for highly automated driving, particularly the redundancy of systems needed to provide reliability and safety.
Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America LLC: “As we pair Daimler's expertise in building safe and reliable trucks with Torc's genius in engineering Level 4 vehicles, we have no doubt we will do great things in the future. We look forward to writing history together. The U.S. highways are the perfect place to develop automated driving technology.”
Within the Autonomous Technology Group, DTNA is also building an infrastructure required for the operational testing of initial application cases. This consists of a main control centre and logistics hubs. These hubs are located along high density freight corridors where many customers operate and within close proximity of interstates and highways.
The OEM is enlarging the existing facility to 88,000 square-metres, an expansion of more than 30,000 square-metres. In a statement, the carmaker said that it would build on the availability of some 86,000 parts and improve delivery times to the aftermarket.
BMW Korea also said part of the investment being made would be in upgrading its parts supply processes, from ordering parts to receiving, storing and shipping.
The Anseong facility provides same-day delivery by 5 p.m. on parts orders taken early in the day, with a next-day delivery service by 7 a.m. on orders taken later.
The company has also announced plans to improve productivity and efficiency by building smart logistics systems that actively use artificial intelligence and by introducing automated processes to some of the logistics systems.
BMW has also completed parts supply testing for supplies outside South Korea using Eurasian Railways. BMW South Korea wants to make a greater use of rail in addition to its existing air and sea lanes, a move it said would increase supply to customers in the region.
The move is just one being made by BMW Group Korea to restore consumer confidence following a spate of engine fires that affected vehicles sold in the country last year. Others include KRW 12.5 billion expansion of its driving centre and will introduce track certification for the BMW M Level 2 programme, which provides advanced driver training for high-performance vehicles.
The engine fires, which affected 40 vehicles were related to a faulty exhaust gas recirculation unit. BMW was accused by South Korea’s Ministry of Transport of delaying recalls and concealing defects, which was refuted by the carmaker. It eventually had to recall 172,000 vehicles across its model range between July and October last year. In a statement, the company said it was committed to solving the organisational shortcomings revealed by last year’s recall, especially in the aftersales part of the business, and was working on “transparent and customer-friendly services”.
“The valuable lessons learned through the recall will continue to create innovative programmes that will benefit our customers together with our headquarters and dealers,” said Sang-chun Chung, managing director of BMW Group Korea Aftersales.
The company was keen to state that was able to achieve a recall fulfilment rate of more than 90% in just four months.
BMW Korea will now introduce an Aftersales Subscription Service for customers who are experiencing difficulties securing aftersales services once beyond the warranty period and said it would continue to expand existing digital and mobility services.
The vehicle, which had earlier arrived by rail, was transported on board the Jutlandia Seaways vessel belonging to the DFDS shipping company at about midday. The guests attending the ceremony included the Mayor of Cuxhaven, Dr Ulrich Getsch, and Enak Ferlemann, Parliamentary Secretary of State at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. Representatives from the world of business, the UECC and DFDS shipping companies as well as the DB Cargo Logistics railway services provider and Hödlmayr International were present to witness the handling procedure too.
Cuxport has been shipping BMW vehicles for the British market for 15 years and is one of the leading providers for transhipping automobiles among the North Sea ports. The new vehicles arrive at Cuxhaven by rail. It is possible to load as many as 2,000 cars on board one vessel. The DFDS shipping company then transports the cars to Immingham on the east coast of England as many as six times a week, while the UECC shipping company heads for the port of Southampton on the south coast of Britain once or twice a week.
“In addition to our excellent location on the North Sea with lock-free access, we’re able to impress customers with short handling times and adequate storage capacity for shipping the vehicles,” said Oliver Fuhljahn, Head of Automobile Logistics at Rhenus Port Logistics, emphasising the benefits of Cuxport. “We’ve been able to increase the transhipment of vehicles and the number of our automobile customers during the past few years – partly by providing an improved railway link and making major investments at the site. Now that berth no. 4 has been completed, we have three RoRo berths available at Cuxport.”
“Automobile logistics at Cuxhaven is a success story that is of a long-term nature. We’re delighted that Cuxport is therefore strengthening our regional economy as well as creating jobs,” said Dr Ulrich Getsch, Mayor of Cuxhaven.
Cuxport not only serves as a feeder point for new vehicles heading for Great Britain, but also to Sweden, Iceland and Denmark. The terminal operator does not just provide handling, but also technical services like washing vehicles and underseal protection.