Luxury German car manufacturer Daimler has announced that it will invest $573 million (500 million euros) into developing technologically advanced autonomous trucks. The move will create 200 jobs, the company said.
Daimler is planning a “global push to bring highly automated trucks (SAE level 4) to the road within a decade,” the company said.
"Highly automated" means that the vehicles will “travel in defined areas and between defined hubs without any expectation of the system that a user will respond to a request to intervene,” according to a report by Freightwaves. Vehicles that are designated level 4 can drive fully autonomously, in most conditions.
Level 5 means there’s no need for a human driver, and by reaching level 4, Daimler will be close to that distinction.
Daimler Trucks CEO Martin Daum said he wants to put a level 4 truck on the road in the United States this year, but declined to say where. He spoke at CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics show, in the Keep Memory Alive Center. It was the company’s first appearance at the yearly event.
“Why are we here?” asked Daum. “Because our trucks are all about technologies.”
Daimler has been very forward with moves toward the modernization of the car industry into new territory. Recently, the company announced a partnership with BMW to combine their mobility businesses.
“Combining our mobility services as planned will create a unique digital ecosystem,” said BMW Chairman of the Board Management Harald Krüger in a statement in March. “This alliance will make it easier for our customers to discover the emission-free mobility of the future. We remain competitors when it comes to the best premium vehicles. The planned merger of our mobility services will pool our resources and send a strong signal to our new competitors.”
This new deal includes car sharing units car2go and DriveNow, as well as other ride-hailing, parking and charging services, and allows for Daimler and BMW to each hold 50 percent stakes in the venture.