Torc Robotics opens a technology and software development center in Stuttgart, Germany. Based in Blacksburg, Virginia, Torc Robotics is an independent subsidiary of Daimler Truck AG
Torc is focused on SAE Level 4 autonomous vehicle software for heavy-duty vehicles. Torc Europe GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Torc, said it would tap into the talent pool in the Stuttgart region, one of Germany’s leading automotive regions. The team will support the ongoing development of the Torc Level 4 autonomous “virtual driver” system for deployment in self-driving trucks in the United States.
“Torc is working closely with Daimler Truck to optimize the entire product line, including virtual driver, sensing and computing hardware, and redundant chassis, to be the first company to launch an autonomous driving product. scalable and profitable,” said Torc Founder and CEO Michael Fleming.
“Torc’s technology and software development center in Stuttgart will draw on deep automotive and trucking technical and product expertise to make this a reality,” he added.
Torc and Daimler Truck are collaboratively pursuing a stated common goal of developing and deploying self-driving trucks for long-haul trucking over the decade.
In 2019, Daimler Truck invested a majority stake in Torc, the first standalone technology company to form an integrated partnership with a truck OEM. Torc and Daimler Truck North America are accelerating development and testing in the United States. Torc said its Albuquerque test facility allows daily multi-shift trips of Torc’s self-driving test trucks on highways in New Mexico and Texas.
Brief news from around the world
MAN launch date for electric trucks: Germany’s MAN Truck & Bus SE is pushing back the production launch date for its next range of heavy-duty battery-electric trucks by nearly twelve months to early 2024. The OEM announced this during the recent unveiling of a prototype truck at its factory in Nuremberg. MAN CEO Alexander Vlaskamp said a first run of 200 units is expected to be produced in early 2024 at the company’s Munich plant. In Nuremberg, MAN has invested in research and development in order to build its own battery packs for its ranges of electric trucks and buses. Vlaskamp also said that MAN is developing service packages tailored to e-mobility products. He said that “we need to further accelerate the electrification of our fleet. However, we will only succeed in scaling up e-mobility if we support our customers in their transition and convince them to do so. To do this, we create integrated digital solutions and charging offers.
Hyundai and Iveco are looking to collaborate: Korean company Hyundai Motor and Italian group Iveco have agreed to explore opportunities for collaboration in several key areas, from vehicle technology to joint component sourcing and mutual vehicle supply. The two OEMs signed a memorandum of understanding at Hyundai Motor’s headquarters in Seoul in March. In a statement, Hyundai said the agreement was “a further step in Hyundai Motor’s and Iveco Group’s independent strategies to create cutting-edge innovative solutions…by creating an ecosystem of mutually beneficial partnerships.” Essentially, as competition grows globally, the two companies aim to share the costs of developing new technologies and sourcing components, as well as creating synergies in areas such as sharing products and market access.
Volvo seizes EU electric leadership: Volvo Trucks was the market leader for electric trucks in Europe in 2021, selling 145 trucks to reach a 42% market share, according to statistics published by market analysis firm IHS Markit Ltd. In 2021, a total of 346 electric trucks over 16 tonnes were registered in Europe, marking a 193% increase compared to 2020. Volvo Trucks started full production of its FL and FE electric trucks in 2019 and was one of the very first major truck brands to enter the electric truck segment. It is set to launch production electric versions of the heavier FH, FM and FMX models this fall.
Cummins “Fuel Independent” Powertrain Lab: Cummins Inc. has announced the opening of a new powertrain testing facility at its campus in Darlington, UK. Ground preparation work has begun at the site, with the company expecting the first phase of the £14 million ($17.4 million) investment to be launched by May 2023.
Designed to be “fuel independent”, the facility will allow Cummins to develop and test a range of energy technologies. This announcement follows recent news that
Cummins is developing a fuel-independent engine platform designed to run on hydrogen, natural gas or diesel.
The dynamometers at the new UK site will be able to test not only powertrains, but also powertrains and vehicles fitted to the chassis. This capability will range in size from a compact SUV to a heavy-duty truck, as well as buses and off-road equipment.
Covering a footprint of 738 square meters (7,944 square feet), the two-story powertrain test facility will also produce sustainable electricity. For example, test cell dynamometers and energy harvesting systems can supply power to the test facility as well as the larger Cummins site. In addition, rainwater will be collected for use in the facility’s cooling towers to reduce water consumption.
“The new facility will further strengthen the ability of Cummins’ European technical operations to introduce low-carbon power solutions and meet upcoming Euro VII ultra-low emissions regulations, which are expected to come into force around 2025.” , said Jonathan Atkinson, executive director of Cummins’ road operations in Europe.
The Darlington Test Center also consolidates manufacturing, engineering, testing and sales departments into a single site with approximately 1,500 employees. According to Cummins, the new powertrain testing facility will provide opportunities to “upskill” current employees as well as recruit and train new employees.
Hotline Global is produced in partnership with UK based Truck & Bus Builder. A free trial subscription to T&BB is available. This news first appeared in the May 2022 issue of Heavy Duty Trucking.