Torc Robotics - The Road to Autonomy

Preparing an Autonomous Trucking Business to Scale

Dr. Peter Vaughan Schmidt, CEO, Torc Robotics joined Grayson Brulte on The Road to Autonomy podcast to discuss how Torc is preparing to scale their autonomous trucking business. 

The conversation begins with Peter discussing why he joined Torc Robotics. One of the defining factors as to why he decided to join was the company’s culture. The company’s culture is one that is both humble and collaborative. It’s this culture which has allowed Torc to thrive and one that appealed to Peter when he led Daimler Trucks majority investment in 2019. 

Since the investment, Torc has accelerated the technological development of their autonomy stack as they work towards their operations at scale by 2030 goal. 

Autonomy will be at scale within this decade by 2030. 

– Peter Vaughan Schmidt

For autonomous trucking commercial operations to scale, there has to be a redundant autonomous truck platform that will enhance safety and increase uptime efficiency. Through their relationship with Daimler Trucks, Torc will have access to Daimler’s new redundant autonomous truck platform based on Freightliner’s Cascadia with 1,500 new upgrades. 

Eventually these new trucks will be fitted with Torc’s autonomy stack and tested in various areas around the world including Albuquerque, New Mexico where Torc currently has a base of operations. One of the unique advantages to testing in Albuquerque is the elevation changes on I-40. 

We thought if you could do Albuquerque you can really do most cities, most interstates. 

– Peter Vaughan Schmidt

It’s not just testing in Albuquerque that goes into developing the Torc driver. Torc is also learning from experienced professional drivers on know how to “drive” a truck and what the courtesy maneuvers look like when driving on the highway. Daimler Trucks is also providing support from a hardware perspective. 

As Torc prepares to scale and commercialize the business, the company will embrace a subscription model, however the company is open to other potential models as well based on market demand.

We will try to make it as easy for customers as possible to apply this new technology and the way of paying for it.

– Peter Vaughan Schmidt

When the customers take possession of the Torc autonomous trucks, they will be factory built by Daimler Trucks and deployed in a hub-to-hub model. 

Wrapping up the conversation, Peter shares his thoughts on how he sees autonomous trucks being deployed over the next decade. 

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Recorded on Monday, March 6, 2023