Torc Robotics, a pioneer in commercializing autonomous vehicle technology, Wednesday announced the launch of the Torc Autonomous Advisory Council (TAAC) in support of its goal to be the first scalable, profitable, commercialized Level 4 truck solution.
The TAAC is comprised of key freight industry players who will provide strategic guidance to Torc as it integrates with the freight network and tackles challenges beyond highway driving.
Headquartered in Blacksburg, Torc Robotics is an independent subsidiary of Daimler Truck AG, the global leader and pioneer in trucking. Founded in 2005 at the birth of the self-driving vehicle revolution, Torc has 16 years’ experience in pioneering safety-critical, self-driving applications. Torc offers a complete self-driving vehicle software and integration solution and is currently focusing on commercializing self-driving trucks.
“Torc has a history of collaborating with our partners who are experts in their field,” said Michael Fleming, Torc founder and CEO. “The Torc Autonomous Advisory Council is the next step in the process of incorporating deep industry insights and expertise as Torc works to commercialize autonomous trucking,
“We view this council as a vital part of our work to integrate autonomous trucking into the existing freight industry while ensuring autonomous trucking benefits are realized with optimum safety,” Fleming said.
The cross-functional TAAC has various trucking industry backgrounds in courier and parcel delivery, less-than truckload, full truckload, technology, and logistics. It will provide significant insights into the needs of the freight industry, validate logistics and operations development (hub logistics, tracking, etc.), and optimize safe autonomous trucking operations in the existing network.
“We’re committed to testing and providing the most effective vehicle technologies for our customers and driving innovation when it comes to mobility,” said Paul Rosa, Penske Truck Leasing senior vice president, procurement and fleet planning. “We believe it’s important to collaborate with other leading companies who are creating the next generation of transportation solutions to meet the future needs of our industry and enhancing the supply chain.”
“Torc’s Autonomous Advisory Council will help shape the future of the trucking transportation industry,” said Rob Reich, Schneider executive vice president and chief administrative officer. “We see great potential for this technology to improve efficiency while helping to lower cost,” Reich said. “Being part of the council allows carriers like Schneider to have a strong voice in how autonomous vehicles (AVs) are developed and tested and how this technology will complement our professional over-the-road driver associates.”
TAAC members include Baton, C.H. Robinson, Covenant Logistics, Penske Truck Leasing, Ryder System, Inc., and Schneider. Daimler Truck North America, a pioneer in autonomous driving, is the sole original equipment manufacturer on the council.
The council meets quarterly and focuses on interactive discussions and brainstorming on a variety of topics. TAAC recently held its first quarter 2022 meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Members have visited Torc’s Albuquerque test center and have participated in demonstrations in Torc autonomous trucks. The expertise shared by members of the TAAC will bring Torc one step closer to commercializing self-driving trucks.
“At C.H. Robinson, we see the potential for AV technology to transform logistics and to essentially create a new mode of freight transportation,” said Pat Nolan, C.H. Robinson vice president of North American Surface Transportation. “That’s why we’re joining the Torc Autonomous Advisory Council to help maximize the benefits for the industry, to ease the capacity crunch for shippers, and to serve as a voice for our 85,000 carriers. Making sure shippers have access to AV and making sure smaller carriers are represented in the conversation is critical. We know Torc shares that belief.”