Daimler Trucks has announced it has  established a special global operation to focus on highly automated driving.

The Autonomous Technology Group is backed by a $AUD833 million($US580 million)  investment and was launched on 1st June  and is headed by Peter Vaughan Schmidt. It will focus on putting SAE Level 4 autonomous trucks on the road within a decade.

“We are the pioneer for automated trucks and with the formation of our global Autonomous Technology Group, we are taking the next step, underscoring the importance of highly automated driving for Daimler Trucks, and the industry and society as well,” said Martin Daum, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for trucks and buses. 

Daum said the new unit will “maximize the effectiveness of automated driving efforts and the impact of our investments in this key strategic technology.”

Vaughan Schmidt, who will lead the group, is currently head of strategy for Daimler Trucks and said that with the Autonomous Technology Group, they are bringing together its global experts and the vast knowledge in automated trucking.

“In the first stage, we will focus on use cases of highly automated driving in defined areas and between defined hubs in the U.S. In doing so, we will work closely together with customers whose business matches this automated driving application. We will not only develop the respective technology, but also set up the required operations infrastructure and network,” said Vaughan Schmidt.

Roger Nielsen, CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, said the new global organisation will enable the company to strengthen the evolution of technology for highly automated driving and vehicle integration in heavy-duty trucks at its Automated Truck Research and Development Center in Portland. 

“We’re fully committed to demonstrating the enormous advantages of highly automated driving first here in the U.S,”  said Roger Nielsen.

The units main activities will include software development, chassis redundancy, sensor kit integration and operations infrastructure. 

The new unit will also include automated driving company Torc Robotics, which was recently acquired by Daimler. It will continue to be led by its current management team.

Daimler also said it will work closely with the passenger car division to leverage automated synergies.