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Testing planned for ‘next-generation’ Freightliner Cascadia equipped with Level 4 self-driving tech

Beginning in early 2021, Torc Robotics plans to implement an enhanced prototype Freightliner Cascadia in its testing of self-driving truck technology in the Southwest. This new generation of Freightliner Cascadia test trucks, developed with Daimler Trucks North America, will help advance Torc’s development of Level 4 self-driving technology.

The test trucks, internally known as ‘Gen 2’ are the second iteration of trucks jointly developed by the two companies, and represent a milestone along the Daimler-Torc journey “of becoming the standard in self-driving trucking and advance their mission of saving lives,” according to a statement released by the two companies. By co-developing a Level 4 Freightliner Cascadia, already equipped with “safety-critical redundancy components,” and integrating additional tech required for self-driving capability, the two companies hope to “reinvent the truck,” the statement continued.

“To meet the redundancy and performance requirements of a self-driving truck, the traditional truck chassis must be reinvented. Just like any major innovation, it requires a stair-step approach toward the final product. We are taking this one step at a time, with safety as our guiding principle,” said Michael Fleming, CEO of Torc.

“We knew from the outset that self-driving technology cannot be commercialized without an OEM. In trucking, there are only a handful of OEMs, and we were fortunate to join the industry leader,” he said.

Torc, which began commercialization of its self-driving technology in heavy-duty applications more than 12 years ago, is leveraging its experience to solve the challenges of autonomous operations, Fleming said. Through the Torc-Daimler partnership, the two companies hope to bring self-driving trucks to market within the decade.

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