Daimler (DDAIF) Trucks, along with Torc Robotics, has tested its SAE level 4 self-driving trucks, which it’s planning to launch commercially. Daimler tested the truck on public roads near Torc’s base in southwest Virginia.

Daimler tests its self-driving truck

The company makes sure that engineers and safety drivers are present during test runs. It also puts the vehicles through test runs on roads only after it performs safety checks and tests on closed-loop tracks.

In a press release, Martin Daum, a member of the board of management at Daimler AG who is responsible for trucks and buses, said, “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.”

There are six levels of automation, according to the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). Level 4 is the second-best level on the degree of automation in vehicles. In this level, vehicles can engage in self-driving in a certain set of conditions. However, in the final level (level 5), vehicles can self-drive in all circumstances.

Daimler’s acquisition of Torc

Daimler has invested consistently in the research and development of autonomous vehicles. Daimler recently announced the acquisition of Torc Robotics to boost its self-driving segment’s capabilities.

Torc provides advanced technology, expertise, and experience in automation of heavy-duty commercial vehicles. The press release also states, “‘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.”

Self-driving trucking industry

Daimler is planning to tap the potential in the autonomous trucking industry with the commercial launch of its vehicle. The self-driving trucking industry is all set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.4% from 2020 to 2025, according to Allied Market Research. Also, the report expects the size of the market to be $1.004 billion in 2020 and $1.669 billion in 2025.

The report also says North America will likely have the largest share of the self-driving trucking market in 2020. Besides providing comfort, self-driving trucks also help reduce accidents, reduce costs, save the environment from pollution, and reduce traffic congestion.

Investments in the autonomous vehicle industry

With the advent of autonomous vehicles, not only leading automakers but also software and hardware developers are investing heavily in the industry. Qualcomm (QCOM) offers cutting-edge technological solutions such as positioning, connectivity, and integrated processing to help automakers build self-driving vehicles. Further, NVIDIA (NVDA) provides software and hardware embedded with AI to automakers.

Ford (F), General Motors (GM), and Tesla (TSLA) are all in the race to lead in the autonomous vehicles market. Tesla plans to launch its network of robotaxis as early as 2020. General Motors is also planning the commercial launch of autonomous vehicles. Earlier, it scheduled the launch for 2019, but it’s now postponed it. Ford is planning to launch a fleet of autonomous vehicles with geofences by 2021.

Apple (AAPL) isn’t far behind in the race. It’s acquired Drive.ai in its quest to develop autonomous vehicles. The company also recently tested its sensor technology in its self-driving car. To learn more, read Apple’s Self-Driving Car Spotted in Cupertino.

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