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Daimler Truck brings autonomous and electric technology together in Freightliner demonstration vehicle

Daimler Truck is testing autonomous technology in its electric Freightliner eCascadia.
Daimler Truck is testing autonomous technology in its electric Freightliner eCascadia. Daimler Truck

With an eye to developing sustainable transportation and meeting future challenges, Daimler Truck has combined two technologies - battery-electric drive and autonomous operation- in one truck for the first time.

The autonomous truck is based on a Freightliner eCascadia semi and is equipped with Torc's autonomous driving software, plus the latest Level 4 sensor and compute technology that will eventually enable Level 4 autonomous driving. Torc Robotics is Daimler Truck's independent subsidiary for autonomous virtual driver technology.

The truck is still a research and advanced engineering product, but it has the potential to evolve into a modular, scalable platform that is propulsion agnostic for flexible use in different trucking applications. Customers will be able to choose what works best for their specific transportation and business needs.

"By combining zero-emission and autonomous technologies in one product, we are testing solutions for challenges our customers are likely to face in the future," said John O'Leary, president and CEO of Daimler Truck North America. "We want to give them choices that allow them to do what they do best: keep the world moving today and well into the future. That takes a lot of foresight, questioning, testing, learning, improving and co-creating with our customers years in advance to ultimately find the right solution. This truck is a great example of the beginning of that development process."

Joanna Buttler, Head of Global Autonomous Technology Group at Daimler Truck, added: "Together with Torc, we are making significant progress towards introducing autonomous trucks in the U.S. by 2027. While we target autonomous trucks with conventional propulsion technology for this first market launch, we always look further into the future. We will employ an iterative approach to the development, testing and optimization of autonomous-electric technology, while exploring the most promising use cases in collaboration with our fleet customers."

The Torc compute stack and a new cooling system are set between the seats of the autonomous test vehicle. Daimler Truck

Zero-emission eCascadia uses Detroit ePowertrain

The zero-emission Class 8 Freightliner eCascadia uses the Detroit ePowertrain for performance, efficiency, and reliability. It can charge to 80 percent capacity in as little as 90 minutes and has multiple battery and drive axle options to provide ranges of 155, 220, or 230 miles depending on configuration. It is also equipped with the Detroit Assurance safety suite.

This is the first time the autonomous sensor suite and compute power being tested on the autonomous diesel Cascadia has been packaged into the smaller day cab configuration. An advanced prototype air-cooling concept has been developed for the compute stack, which is positioned between the driver and passenger seats. Customized software provides the autonomous system with control interfaces and feedback on vehicle status.

An in-house-designed sensor bar cover incorporates cameras, LIDAR sensors and radar sensors. It improves aerodynamic performance while providing better protection from damage and soiling. Four added 12-volt batteries provide enough power to ensure uninterrupted operation, increased efficiency, and safety.

Demonstrator provides look at future autonomous use cases

A propulsion-agnostic truck platform provides users with the most suitable and efficient form of transportation for their goods. The eCascadia demonstrator offers a look at future autonomous use cases, including shorter, repeatable routes with the use of zero-emission infrastructure. Future autonomous trucks could also be powered by hydrogen-based propulsion technologies.

In the currently tested hub-to-hub application, the truck's intent is to drive autonomously between freight centres along U.S. highway corridors. By identifying synergies between zero emissions and autonomous infrastructure in a future scenario, the charging infrastructure and autonomous freight hubs could be combined to charge and load simultaneously for even more efficiency.


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2477 Deerfield Drive,
Fort Mill, SC
US, 29715


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