Daimler Trucks has agreed to buy a majority stake in self-driving truck software maker Torc Robotics as part of its plans to develop autonomous vehicles, Reuters reported.
Torc, based in Blacksburg, Virginia, will help Daimler accelerate software development by giving the German manufacturer access to 120 skilled staff, Daimler Trucks CEO Martin Daum said.
Torc Robotics has partnerships to develop self-driving technology with Caterpillar with mining and agricultural applications, and competed in the DARPA self-driving vehicles challenge 12 years ago.
Torc has developed technology that allows vehicles to operate at a high level of automation, known as level 4, helping Daimler to accelerate its own plans for commercializing self-driving vehicles.
Daimler currently offers a level 2 automation system on its trucks, which can automatically brake, accelerate and steer using radar and camera systems that make partially automated driving possible.
Torc will continue to develop its Asimov self-driving software and testing at its Blacksburg facility. Daimler Trucks will focus on further evolving automated driving technology and vehicle integration for heavy-duty trucks at its Automated Truck Research & Development Center in Portland.
Daimler Trucks will use know-how about sensors and automation from the group’s Mercedes-Benz passenger car brand.