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Daimler wants to put self-driving semi trucks on the road by 2027

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Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) gave the public a peek at the company’s new self-driving Freightliner eCascadia “technology demonstrator” ahead of planned autonomous truck deployment by 2027.

On May 8, DTNA debuted the technology demonstrator, which is a production battery electric Freightliner eCascadia equipped with Torc Robotics autonomous driving software.

Daimler calls the combination of the zero-emissions battery-powered Freightliner eCascadia with self-driving technology a company-first and “the best of both worlds.”

“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.”

While the autonomous Freightliner eCascadia is currently described by DTNA as a “research and advanced engineering project,” the company pointed to a 2027 target date for deployment of autonomous trucks.

DTNA points out that Torc has been already been testing autonomous-ready Freightliner Cascadia trucks with major carriers like C.R. England, hauling freight autonomously between Phoenix and Oklahoma City for the past year.

DTNA says that the company plans to bring trucks with Level 4 self-driving technology to market in the U.S. by 2027.

“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,” said Joanna Buttler, Head of Global Autonomous Technology Group at Daimler Truck.

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