Daimler Trucks and Torc partner with Luminar to enable automated trucking; Daimler Trucks acquires minority stake in Luminar
Lidar developer Luminar Technologies, Inc. and Daimler Truck AG 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. 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.—Dr. Peter Vaughan Schmidt, Head of Autonomous Technology Group at Daimler Trucks
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.
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 program.
Luminar is a leading autonomous vehicle sensor and software company and has rapidly gained 50 industry partners, including 7 of the top 10 global automotive OEMs. Founded in 2012, Luminar is a 350-person team with offices in Palo Alto, Orlando, Colorado Springs, Detroit, and Munich.
In August 2020, Luminar announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to merge with Gores Metropoulos, Inc., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) sponsored by an affiliate of The Gores Group, LLC. Upon completion of the transaction, Luminar will be listed on the Nasdaq under the new ticker symbol “LAZR”.
Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics started their collaboration in spring 2019. In September of the same year, Torc Robotics became part of Daimler Trucks’ Autonomous Technology Group. Both partners focus on on-road deployment of a Level 4 test fleet, initiation of redesign of truck chassis, formalized rigorous testing protocols, formal truck safety driver certification process, and extended software capabilities.
The Autonomous Technology Group is currently extending its testing to New Mexico by building up a new testing center in Albuquerque. Expanding to a new location will support testing and provide data for more use cases of next generation vehicles on public roads starting 2020. Initial public road testing on highways began already in September 2019 in southwest Virginia. Additionally, closed-track road testing is conducted in Madras, OR, at Daimler Trucks North America’s High Desert Proving Grounds.