Daimler and Waymo collaborate on autonomous trucks

Waymo Driver technology set to go into Freightliner Cascadias

Daimler and Waymo collaborate on autonomous trucks
Waymo Driver technology highlighted in a line drawing of the autonomous Cascadia


Despite recent headlines being dominated by electric vehicles, autonomous trucks developments continue to bubble along, as Daimler’s Waymo deal shows.

The pair has signed a broad, global, strategic partnership to deploy autonomous SAE Level 4 technology – self-driving where human control and interaction in most circumstances is not required.

"With our strategic partnership with Waymo as the leader in autonomous driving, we are taking another important step towards that goal," Daimler Truck chairman Martin Daum says.

"This partnership complements Daimler Trucks’ dual strategy approach, of working with two strong partners to deliver autonomous L4 solutions that are seamlessly integrated with our best-in class trucks, to our customers."

Initially, the partners plan to combine Waymo's automated driver technology, which gained broad attention in 2009 for its Google autonomous car, with a unique version of Daimler's Freightliner Cascadia, to enable autonomous driving.

They offer no timeline or targets for the link’s developments.

Daimler lays its electric cards on the table

Waymo’s says its most recent self-driving system comprises computation of data from radar, lidar and cameras coupled with data from 20 million self-driven miles (32 million km) on public roads and over 15 billion miles in simulation.

Much of that has been done using a semi hauled by one of Paccar’s Peterbilt prime movers.

Interestingly, US trucking firm Wilson Logistics, which is aiming to put Locomation platooning technology in its 1,120 heavy -duty truck fleet starting in 2022, uses both Cascadias and Peterbilt 579s. 

"We have the highest regard for Daimler’s engineering skills and broad global truck product portfolio, and so we look forward to scaling the Waymo Driver, together with our new partner, to improve road safety and logistics efficiency on the worlds’ roadways." Waymo CEO John Krafcik says.

The announcement follows that last month of Scania and MAN parent Traton’s link with TuSimple for heavy-duty SAE L4 purposes.

More recently, Swedish autonomous trucking startup Einride, founded in 2016 and which already has an electric truck in commercial testing with Swedish food producer Oaty and German supermarket Lidl, unveiled its cabless Autonomous Electric Transport (AET) range.

It also has an earlier cabless model, the Pod, formerly the T-Pod, being tested by DB Schenker.



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