Daimler picks up majority stake in self-driving tech firm

Daimler Trucks Torc RoboticsDaimler Trucks, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Daimler Group, which makes Mercedes-Benz vehicles, has agreed to buy a majority stake in autonomous vehicle technology company Torc Robotics as it looks to double down on its self-driving efforts. The cost of the purchase hasn’t been disclosed.

As a result of the deal, which is subject to all of the necessary approvals within the US, Torc will work with Daimler Trucks’ research and development team in Portland, Oregon, while continuing to develop its Asimov self-driving software and testing at its Blacksburg, Virginia site.

“We are forming the ideal combination between Torc’s expertise on agile software development and our experience in delivering reliable and safe truck hardware,” said Martin Daum, member of the board of management at Daimler, responsible for trucks and buses. “Together, we will provide a sustainable way for our customers to meet the ever-growing freight demand and benefit both the economy and society.”

Torc will continue to operate independently and retain its name, team, existing customers, and facilities.

“With the ever-rising demand for road transportation, not the least through eCommerce, there is a strong business case for self-driving trucks in the US market and I believe the fastest path to commercialisation for self-driving trucks is in partnership with Daimler Trucks,” said Michael Fleming, CEO of Torc. “This move is in line with our mission of saving lives and represents another major milestone for Torc since crossing the finish line in the DARPA Urban Challenge 12 years ago.”