Daimler Truck enters billion dollar deal with sensor company for autonomous trucks

Daimler Truck and Torc Robotics have entered in a multi-year contract with Aeva Technologies to supply LiDAR sensors for autonomous trucks

Daimler Truck has reached a $1 billion USD (1.49 billion AUD) deal with Silicon Valley-based firm Aeva Technologies to supply sensors for self-driving trucks.

Aeva is known for producing light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors which help vehicles gain a detailed view of the road. The sensor can detect objects faster, further away, and with higher accuracy.

Through the collaboration, Aeva will supply its latest Aeva Atlas automotive grade 4D LiDAR technology to Daimler and also collaborate with Torc Robotics, an independent subsidiary of Daimler Truck, to enable SAE Level 4 autonomous vehicle capabilities.

Torc will use the sensors to guide their virtual driving software and will sell its technology and supporting services as a subscription to customers.

Daimler global autonomous technology group head Joanna Buttler says they are committed to leading the advancement towards autonomous trucks.

“Selecting the right LiDAR technology is a crucial strategic decision to safely deploy autonomous trucks on the road,” she says.

“We are convinced that Aeva with its cutting edge and reliable technology is the right production partner for LiDAR sensors and has the manufacturing capabilities to scale along with us.

“Together with Torc, we are well on track to offer autonomous trucks to the US market by 2027.”

The sensors will eventually end up on Daimler Truck’s Freightliner Cascadia truck platform, integrated into the production process to forgo the need for after purchase retrofitting.

Aeva says it expects the total value of the deal to be $1 billion USD, but did not specify how many years it would last or how many sensors would go on each truck. They aim to start production for the deal in 2026.

Aeva CEO Soroush Salehian says, “Daimler Truck is one of the most reputable commercial vehicle OEMs in the world.”

“Our partnership with Daimler Truck and Torc Robotics is trailblazing the next era of commercial trucking, with safe, autonomous trucks that will revolutionise the industry as we know it.”

Torc Robotics CEO Peter Vaughan Schmidt says its virtual driving software will benefit from this collaboration.

“Torc’s virtual driving software can now rely on significantly higher resolution as well as farther and clearer detection of objects plus instant velocity detection, which are crucial to safely deploy autonomous trucks at scale,” he says.

“We have been working closely with the Aeva team over the past few years and we are excited about the real-world performance that Aeva’s technology has already demonstrated to help us solve some of the most challenging highway-speed use cases.”

Daimler and Torc have run extensive and successful on-road test programs as well as first customer pilots.

To maximise the safety of autonomous trucks, Daimler’s trucks are equipped with LiDAR, radar and camera sensors.

This enables safe handling adapted to the respective situation on highways, surface roads and ramps as well as when turning at controlled intersections.

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