Daimler Trucks and Torc partner with Luminar to enable automated trucking – Daimler Trucks acquires minority stake in Luminar

In News, Daimler, Western Star3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineNovember 3, 2020

Luminar Technologies, Inc., the global leader in automotive lidar hardware and software technology, and the world‘s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, Daimler Truck AG, have announced a strategic partnership to enable highly automated trucking, starting on highways. Experts at Daimler Trucks, its US subsidiary, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) and Torc Robotics, part of Daimler Trucks‘ Autonomous Technology Group, with the experts at Luminar are collaboratively pursuing a common goal of bringing series-produced highly automated trucks (SAE Level 4) to roads globally. The teams 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.

“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,” said Dr Peter Vaughan Schmidt, head of the Autonomous Technology Group at Daimler Trucks. “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 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 Luminar‘s founder and CEO Austin Russell. “The business case for autonomous trucking is incredibly strong, and now is seeing the first OEM programme to bring it to the world.“

Torc Robotics CEO Michael Fleming said the company was excited by the opportunity to work with Luminar and its long-range, high resolution Lidar to improve truck safety and enable Torc to commercialise 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 programme.