Daimler Trucks announced today the creation of an Automated Truck Research and Development Center in Portland, Ore. The facility will be located at Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) headquarters on Swan Island in Portland, where DTNA already has a significant research and development presence, including a full-scale heavy-duty truck wind tunnel on Swan Island and the High Desert Proving Grounds nearby in Madras, Ore.
The center will be dedicated to further developing automated driving technology and understanding its impact on society and benefits for customers. Engineers there will draw on research and development resources from Daimler Trucks locations in Stuttgart, Germany and Bangalore, India to form a global network of hundreds of engineers devoted to the topic of automated driving, leveraging the experience and knowledge from previous research performed across Daimler’s vehicle divisions, including passenger cars. The three locations will work very closely together, while R&D activities on automated trucks in Germany will also be expanded to expedite and deepen the company’s efforts in this field.
The research center was announced during Daimler Trucks Capital Market and Technology Day, which attracted global journalists and investors. The new facility is part of the company’s plans to invest more than €2.5 billion in total research and development activities in 2018 and 2019 with more than €500 million of that earmarked for e-mobility, connectivity and automated commercial vehicle technology.
“We are pioneering technologies across the automated vehicle spectrum that make roads safer and help trucking companies boost productivity,” said Sven Ennerst, head of truck product engineering, global procurement, and Daimler Trucks China. “This center of excellence is part of our global innovation network and supports the Daimler Trucks ethos of rigorously testing new technologies, ensuring systems are developed safely and functionality is fully validated before it is released to customers.”
Daimler Trucks believes that fully autonomous – driverless – commercial trucks will not be series produced in the near future; however, the technology has the potential to create numerous advantages for the global logistics industry by helping fleets to keep up with ever-increasing freight demands as the pool of long-haul truck drivers continues to decrease. The focus for Daimler Trucks is to carefully study all requirements for highly automated driving, to ensure any technology brought to market will improve road safety and driver productivity, while enhancing commercial vehicle performance, reliability and uptime for the customer.
The center will focus its activities on all aspects of development, testing, and validation necessary for high levels of automation. This includes software, sensors, machine learning, and simulation, as well as the necessary adaptation of the base vehicle platform. The Automated Truck R&D Center will furthermore be established as a center for co-creation, where customers, suppliers, and business partners can provide input, ensuring the technology is calibrated to real-life applications.
“Our approach to developing highly automated driving technology will draw upon our proven expertise and long history of commercializing safe, reliable, and fully integrated commercial vehicles,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America. “We are again aiming for a fully integrated, proven Daimler solution that will provide the best tool for our customers’ needs.” Nielsen continued, “We can accomplish this with a combination of vehicle road testing over millions of miles around the globe and advanced simulation. The global collaboration that takes place among research and development teams at Daimler extends to vans, buses and passenger cars, and each advancement is a building block for the future of automated vehicles.”
Daimler Trucks has a well-established track record of developing automated driving technologies, beginning with active safety systems that have achieved strong market penetration. The Detroit Assurance® 4.0 suite of safety systems, for example, forms the basis of the sensor systems that will ultimately be used in highly automated applications.
One recent development out of the area of automated truck driving, platooning (known as pairing when two vehicles are used), was demonstrated with paired trucks as part of the Daimler Trucks Capital Market and Technology Day at Portland International Raceway. Using the sophisticated radar and camera sensor systems currently available as part of Detroit Assurance, along with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), braking is coordinated across platooned vehicles and steering is partially automated to keep the trucks in the center of their lanes. The following trucks in the platoon respond to braking commands in less than three tenths of a second – significantly faster than a human can react – which allows for close following distances. The platooning demonstration illustrates the safety and fuel efficiency benefits the company delivers through its automated technology leadership.
The first real-world operation testing of platooning in the U.S. is in preparation. DTNA is working with top customers on the technology to validate the practicality of hauling commercial freight with platooned vehicles.
About Daimler Trucks North America
Daimler Trucks North America LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Daimler Trucks North America is a Daimler company, the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.
Daimler at a Glance
Daimler AG is one of the world’s most successful automotive companies. With its divisions Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses and Daimler Financial Services, the Daimler Group is one of the biggest producers of premium cars and the world’s biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles with a global reach. Daimler Financial Services provides financing, leasing, fleet management, insurance, financial investments, credit cards, and innovative mobility services. The company’s founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, made history with the invention of the automobile in the year 1886. As a pioneer of automotive engineering, it is a motivation and commitment of Daimler to shape safely and sustainably the future of mobility: The Group’s focus is on innovative and green technologies as well as on safe and superior automobiles that appeal and fascinate. Daimler consequently invests in the development of efficient drive trains with the long-term goal of locally emission-free driving: from hightech combustion engines about hybrid vehicles to electric drive trains powered by battery or fuel cell. Furthermore, the company follows a consistent path towards intelligent connectivity of its vehicles, autonomous driving and new mobility concepts. This is just one example of how Daimler willingly accepts the challenge of meeting its responsibility towards society and the environment. Daimler sells its vehicles and services in nearly all the countries of the world and has production facilities in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa. Its current brand portfolio includes, in addition to the world’s most valuable premium automotive brand, Mercedes-Benz (Source: Interbrand-Study „The Anatomy of Growth“, 10/5/2016), as well as Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes me, the brands smart, EQ, Freightliner, Western Star, BharatBenz, FUSO, Setra and Thomas Built Buses, and Daimler Financial Services’ brands: Mercedes-Benz Bank, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Daimler Truck Financial, moovel, car2go and mytaxi. The company is listed on the stock exchanges of Frankfurt and Stuttgart (stock exchange symbol DAI). In 2017, the Group sold around 3.3 million vehicles and employed a workforce of more than 289,300 people. With application of IFRS 15 and IFRS 9 in financial year 2017, Group revenue would have amounted to €164.2 billion and Group EBIT would have amounted to €14.3 billion. Before application of IFRS 15 and 9, Group revenue in 2017 amounted to €164.3 billion and Group EBIT amounted to €14.7 billion, as previously reported.