Autonomous Trucks: A Tool for the Motor Carrier Toolbox

By Seth Clevenger, Transport Topics

Autonomous trucks could unlock ­safety improvements and greater freight efficiency in the coming years, but it’s clear that this technology will not be a one-size-fits-all solution for the entire trucking industry.

Instead, trucking operations will introduce autonomous vehicles in specific, tailored applications that augment rather than replace their existing fleets and professional drivers.

Industry executives discussed how autonomous trucks could fit into freight transportation networks during a roundtable discussion with trucking journalists at Trimble Transportation’s 2023 Insight Tech Conference and Expo, held Sept. 24-27 in Las Vegas.

“We are building a tool for the industry,” said Walter Grigg, who leads industry partnerships for self-driving truck developer Torc Robotics. “No tool in a carpenter’s tool belt does everything. You don’t spread concrete with a Phillips head screwdriver. We are building what is effectively a Phillips head screwdriver — it has a very specific application, and it is designed to do very well in that application.”

Proponents of autonomous driving technology frequently highlight its potential safety benefits, but unmanned trucks also could help trucking companies expand their fleets by supplementing their current operations with autonomous capacity.

“It’s allowing carriers that embrace the technology to take on more revenue, to take on more freight volume and actually grow,” said Michael Wiesinger, vice president of commercialization at Kodiak Robotics, another self-driving truck developer. “Today it’s very hard to grow because you can’t find the drivers to actually grow your fleet.”

Torc and Kodiak are operating self-driving trucks on the road today with safety drivers behind the wheel, but their goal is to enable unmanned trucks to operate autonomously on longhaul hub-to-hub routes in the years ahead.

From the fleet perspective, deploying autonomous trucks is not a question of “all or none,” said Matt McLelland, vice president of sustainability and innovation at Covenant Logistics, which ranks No. 46 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

“I don’t really see it replacing anything; it’ll just be augmenting what we already have,” he said. “It would allow us to grow the fleet without having to make any dramatic changes.”

McLelland said Covenant is interested in autonomous trucks as a way to expand its expedited fleet as a complement to its team drivers in that division.

“We are cautiously optimistic,” he said. “There are a lot of problems that still have to be figured out, and there are also a lot of reasons to be really optimistic about this. … We are really excited about the potential safety gains that come from this.”

Torc Tackles Beyond-the-Truck Autonomous Issues

By Alan Adler, Freight Waves

How will the “personas” of dispatchers, maintenance technicians and roadside assistance change as autonomous trucks arrive? Torc Robotics is working with major fleets to find out.

Torc differs from its major competitors in preparing to launch fully integrated autonomous Freightliner Cascadias into commerce.

The independent subsidiary of Daimler Truck moves deliberately. Aurora Innovation and Kodiak Robotics target late 2024 for their first commercial routes with driverless trucks. Torc is looking at 2027.

“I have a lot of respect for the other folks in the industry,” Andrew Culhane, Torc chief strategy officer, told me in an interview this week at Torc’s testing center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Most of us have been in self-driving together for 15-plus years. Everybody has a different definition of what commercialization really means to them.”

Culhane is an original “Torc’r,” a nickname accorded employees of the company then-graduate student Michael Fleming co-founded at Virginia Tech University in 2005. Fleming stepped down as CEO after 17 years in August 2022 but remains on the Torc board.

The Blacksburg, Virginia-based company became part of Daimler in 2019 when the truck maker acquired a majority stake for an undisclosed amount. The transition from a technology and product emphasis to creating a business began when Daimler installed Peter Vaughan Schmidt as CEO.

‘What is it actually going to take?’

“We go pick up a trailer. We move it from A to B. Sure, we’ve done something, but that’s not true commercialization,” Culhane said. “Over the last 12 months, it’s less of a conversation about the truck itself. Now [it’s] OK, ‘What is it actually going to take to run these assets?’

“There’s plenty of people who can move freight for you,” Culhane said. “It’s a question of ‘Can we enable the fleet to run autonomous trucks?’”

The arrival from Portland, Oregon, of the first fully redundant Cascadia chassis at Torc’s testing center in a former car dealership in Albuquerque addresses part of the question. Seamless duplication of braking, steering, low-voltage power and other key components stand in where a human might take over in case of a failure.

‘10 different big chunks of things’

Culhane focuses on the “10 different big chunks of things” that have to be ironed out before Torc can scale a commercially profitable business.

“How do we move customers from left to right to where they can say, ‘Yeah, I can own that asset, I can run it, I can maintain it, I know how to dispatch it. It plugs into my TMS [transportation management system]. If you don’t answer all of those questions, it’s not commercial-ready. It’s the next great demo or it’s a neat pilot.”

The traditional jobs surrounding freight operations will change. What new skills must a dispatcher acquire? What would roadside assistance look like? Who would supervise driverless trucks to keep them running as intended?

Helping customers take advantage of autonomy

“I think we’ve hit that tipping point of, ‘OK, the serious players are going to get there.’ Now they want to know how they’re going to take advantage of it.”

Torc is in the enviable position of having access to Daimler’s market-leading Freightliner customer base. Two of those customers, Schneider and C.R. England, run 1,000-mile safety driver-monitored test runs from Phoenix to Oklahoma City.

Big fleets that Daimler dominates are just part of Torc’s business plan.

“When we talk about scale, there’s scale with them,” Culhane said. “But the industry is much bigger than them.”

Three years of questions

It will take the next three years for Torc to influence and adopt the policies, procedures and standard operating efficiencies for autonomous trucks. How do you couple and decouple an autonomous truck? How do you inspect them?

“Putting those pieces together is where we think our part of the equation is,” Culhane said. “And then partners can step in and fill in more.”

Torc’s model is strictly hub-to-hub autonomy. But rather than build out its own transfer points, the company wants to leverage customer facilities. Schneider and C.R. England both have facilities at either end of the Phoenix-to-Oklahoma City test route.

More carriers will stand up facilities when Torc starts moving freight 430 miles without drivers from the U.S.-Mexico border city of Laredo, Texas, to Dallas in 2027.

“We don’t want to think of this as the Atlanta airport-size thing that everybody has to run through,” Culhane said. “We want to distribute that out. Take Dallas-Fort Worth. To truly access that market without owning 500 acres of real estate, you would need 10 locations around Dallas just to make the drayage legs work.”

Torc Lays Out Road Map to Autonomous Truck Launch in 2027

By Seth Clevenger, Transport Topics

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Self-driving truck developer Torc Robotics is fine-tuning its technology and laying the foundation for autonomous fleet operations as it targets a 2027 market launch for its virtual driver product.

The independent subsidiary of Daimler Truck is paving the way for that rollout by conducting pilots with major motor carriers and mapping out the details of how fleet customers will dispatch and monitor unmanned commercial vehicles in the coming years.

Torc outlined its commercialization plans and showcased its progress during ride-along demonstrations in its self-driving prototypes during a Nov. 13-14 press event at its Albuquerque research and development center.

Torc CEO Peter Vaughan Schmidt said autonomous trucks will enable fleets to transport freight “faster, safer and at a lower cost” while also helping to alleviate their long-standing driver recruiting and retention challenges.

By automating stretches of highway driving between designated freight hubs, autonomous trucks could shift more driver jobs toward local and regional routes that offer more home time and typically have lower turnover rates.

“This technology really has the potential to address this pain point, to drive down cost, to make goods arrive faster,” Schmidt said. “This can do good things for fleets but also for society.”

He suggested the barrier to entry for autonomous trucking will be relatively low. While the truck itself will be more expensive, the cost per mile will go down significantly.

“If you buy an autonomous truck, the payback time will be less than a year,” Schmidt said.

Torc’s virtual driver will be available with a modified version of the Freightliner Cascadia with redundant systems and components designed specifically to support autonomous driving.

In the years since Daimler acquired a majority stake in the company in 2019, Torc has not veered from its vision of unmanned trucks traveling between designated hubs on interstate highway routes as the first step for autonomous trucking.

“We are staying laser focused on U.S. hub-to-hub, on-highway,” said Joanna Buttler, head of Daimler Truck’s global autonomous technology group.

Although this business model requires strategically located freight hubs to serve as launching and landing points for autonomous trucks, those hubs won’t necessarily require massive investments in new infrastructure.

Instead, fleets could adapt or remodel existing terminals, distribution centers or warehouses located near interstate highways on high-volume freight lanes to serve as autonomous truck hubs, Schmidt said.

While the hub-to-hub model is designed to reduce complexity by minimizing off-highway driving, unmanned trucks still will need to safely handle difficult driving conditions they may encounter on the road.

During a 30-minute ride-along demonstration, Torc’s autonomous driving system navigated situations that can be challenging for professional drivers.

The 16-mile route, primarily on Interstates 25 and 40, incorporated many lane changes in moderate to heavy traffic, as well as a cloverleaf interchange and an intersection with a stoplight and crosswalk.

Torc’s prototype autonomous truck, a Freightliner Cascadia equipped with automated driving software and sensors, negotiated traffic while hauling a loaded trailer and traveling at highway speeds just under the posted speed limit of 65 mph.

The virtual driver waited for opportune times to complete lane changes based on traffic in the neighboring lanes and automatically created and maintained a safe following distance when a pickup truck cut in front of it.

Along the way, the autonomous driving system monitored and identified other vehicles on the road as well as a passenger car broken down on the shoulder.

As is the case in all of Torc’s testing on public roads, the self-driving truck had a safety driver behind the wheel and an autonomous vehicle specialist known as a “safety conductor” in the passenger seat.

The safety driver drove the truck manually from Torc’s research center to I-25, then activated the virtual driver while merging onto the highway. From that point on, the truck operated autonomously with no driver input for the remainder of the run until the safety driver resumed manual control while exiting the highway to return to the research facility.

To move beyond the testing and development phase and prepare for commercialization at scale, Torc will bring its technology to market in stages and gradually expand its network of supported routes, said Andrew Culhane, Torc’s chief strategy officer.

“We look at rollout in a phased approach,” he said.

Culhane said Torc will begin by removing the safety driver on an initial freight lane in Texas between Laredo and Dallas to prove the economic viability of its autonomous trucks. This north-south route covers about 400 miles and aligns with freight volumes generated by the ongoing nearshoring of production to Mexico from overseas markets.

At first, Torc will own the autonomous trucks and hubs on this first lane and manage everything from operations to maintenance. Over time, however, the company will transition to a model where its customers own and manage self-driving vehicles themselves while fleet operators or other third-party partners own and operate autonomous truck hubs.

After establishing the Laredo-Dallas lane, Torc plans to expand its network to routes along I-40 and connect with key market areas including Phoenix, Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Memphis, Tenn., and Atlanta. The next phase of development would add regional expansions to El Paso, Texas; Houston, and Shreveport, La.

Torc also outlined a set of specialized job functions to support hub-to-hub autonomous truck operations.

A “hub operator” will handle physical tasks involving the autonomous truck such as conducting pre-trip safety inspections, refueling, hooking the truck to the trailer and driving it into position for launch.

When the truck is ready, a “mission manager” will dispatch and remotely monitor autonomous trucks as they transport freight. Torc said it plans to develop integrations with fleets’ existing transportation management systems to support this mission control function.

Autonomous trucks also will involve new responsibilities and training for maintenance technicians, roadside assistance and customer support.

In the meantime, Torc already has been using its test fleet to haul freight through pilot projects with major trucking companies such as Schneider and C.R. England.

Schmidt highlighted a pilot run from Phoenix to Oklahoma that spans about 1,000 miles with the truck arriving “with the last drip of diesel.”

Torc’s autonomous advisory council, consisting of major carriers, freight brokers, maintenance providers and other industry stakeholders, has provided guidance to the company on how best to integrate its technology into real-world freight networks.

At its last meeting, the members of that council represented $90 billion in freight, Schmidt said.

“I’m not at all worried about commercial traction,” he said. “We are shaping the future together with them.”

Autonomous Trucks Reshaping the Freight Industry

By Seth Clevenger, Transport Topics

Introduction: The Road to Autonomous Trucking

Autonomous trucking, once regarded as the stuff of science fiction, is gradually moving closer to viability in real-world freight operations after years of investment, development work and on-road testing and validation.

A host of technology developers, truck manufacturers and industry suppliers have been working to overcome the significant technical challenges and tackle myriad operational considerations to make unmanned trucks a reality on interstate highways — at least on certain freight lanes and under certain operating conditions.

Proponents of this emerging technology say autonomous trucks could unlock significant efficiency and productivity gains while improving highway safety.

To pave the way for that vision, several technology developers already have been using self-driving trucks to haul freight on public roads through partnerships with shippers, carriers and logistics providers. In these early deployments, self-driving trucks still travel with safety drivers behind the wheel and typically an operations specialist in the passenger seat, but the goal for most of these developers is to enable unmanned operation in the coming years.

To enable autonomous operation, these companies are equipping commercial trucks with onboard computing to support automated driving software along with sensor arrays that incorporate cameras, radar and lidar to monitor the vehicle’s surroundings as it travels down the highway.

Although most autonomous truck developers are targeting unmanned operation, these companies are pursuing business models that would complement the trucking industry’s workforce rather than displacing it.

These developers are not attempting to produce unmanned vehicles that can go everywhere or haul every type of freight that a human driver can cover. Instead, they are reducing the complexity of the problem by constraining autonomous trucks to a more limited operational design domain, or ODD — which refers to a set of operating conditions that the autonomous driving system is designed to handle. Typically, this means that autonomous trucks would operate only on specific, repeatable routes that are well suited to automation, leaving more complex routes and driving situations to trucks piloted by human drivers.

Some developers envision autonomous trucking as a new mode of transportation for shippers, carriers and logistics providers to consider when planning freight movements.

Since autonomous trucks will only travel on certain routes and under specific conditions, the trucking industry, and by extension the nation’s supply chain and economy, will continue to depend on professional truck drivers for the foreseeable future. In fact, the industry will need to recruit more drivers, not fewer, as freight volumes increase over time. But autonomous trucks could ease the industry’s struggles to recruit drivers and help mitigate high driver turnover rates, especially in longhaul trucking.

While the rollout of this technology has been slower than many predicted several years ago, developers have made tangible progress toward deployment and commercialization.

A crucial component of the development work is designing autonomous driving systems to respond to innumerable edge cases — the very rare or unexpected events that the autonomous vehicles might encounter, such as a fallen tree blocking the roadway.

Today, autonomous truck developers are operating primarily in the U.S. Sunbelt, especially in Southwestern states such as Texas, Arizona and New Mexico that have ideal weather conditions and a favorable regulatory environment for testing and eventual deployment. However, some have mapped out nationwide networks for autonomous truck lanes as part of their longer-term ambitions.

Potential Benefits of Autonomous Trucks

Autonomous could hold the potential to unlock numerous safety and efficiency benefits for the freight transportation industry.

Increased Efficiency and Productivity

Fully autonomous trucks would no longer be constrained by drivers’ limited driving time under hours-of-service regulations, thus opening the way for much greater vehicle utilization and higher productivity.

Improved Safety on the Roads

Autonomous vehicles also promise potential safety benefits. Although automated driving software is not as flexible or adaptable as the human mind, it also can perceive hazards sooner and react faster. Unlike humans, computers do not get tired or become distracted or angry behind the wheel.

Reduced Labor Costs

And perhaps most significantly, autonomous trucks could help ease the trucking industry’s longstanding struggle to attract and retain professional drivers.

By automating some longhaul truck routes in hub-to-hub freight operations, autonomous trucks could shift some driver jobs from longhaul truckload operations — where driver turnover rates can exceed 100% for some carriers — to shorthaul and regional jobs that provide more home time and better match the preferences of many younger drivers.

Potential for Reduced Carbon Emissions

Some autonomous vehicle developers also say their technology will yield significant fuel savings because autonomous trucks will operate more efficiently than human-driven trucks and may travel at lower average speeds that consume less fuel.

Business Cases for Autonomous Trucks

Over time, the development of autonomous trucks has split into narrower and more diverse use cases.

Unmanned Longhaul Trucking

Today, the majority of autonomous truck developers are designing their virtual drivers to haul freight in regular hub-to-hub routes on interstate highways, thus avoiding the more complex urban driving associated with the first and final mile.

In this business model, autonomous trucks would cover the longhaul portion of a shipment while trucks driven manually by human drivers would continue to handle the first and final legs of the journey, with human-piloted and autonomous trucks swapping trailers at designated transfer hubs.

Other Self-Driving Trucking Operations

Other companies are pursuing very different but still limited use cases.

Gatik, for instance, is using self-driving, medium-duty box trucks to move freight on shorthaul delivery routes on public roads between logistics sites and store locations.

Other developers are focusing on off-road applications. Outrider, for one, is working to enable unmanned operations in logistics yards, while others such as Pronto are targeting industrial sites such as mining operations.

Self-Driving Trucking from Afar

Another concept for autonomous truck deployment involves teleoperation, where autonomous vehicles are supervised from afar by remote drivers in offices. The trucks would drive autonomously but remote drivers could intervene if the vehicle is stopped or encounters an unexpected obstacle.

Supervised Autonomy

Furthermore, some developers have pursued various forms of “supervised autonomy.”

Plus, for example, has begun commercializing its Plus Drive self-driving technology as a driver-assist system to help pave the way for full autonomy in the future.

Truck Platooning

Other technology developers have sought to combine automated driving technology with truck platooning, where two or more trucks form a convoy connected via vehicle-to-vehicle communications. Synchronized braking enables reduced following distances to provide enhanced aerodynamics and fuel savings. Typically, the lead truck is piloted by a human driver while the following trucks are either partially automated with driver-assist capabilities or potentially “drone” trucks with no driver onboard.

Industry Partnerships

Developers of autonomous driving systems are not alone in their quest to make unmanned trucks a reality.

These companies have formed partnerships with global truck manufacturers, industry suppliers and a range of other transportation industry stakeholders.

Autonomous Truck Driving Technology

One key element of this development work is integrating autonomous driving software and sensors with mass-produced commercial vehicles in a way that ensures safety and reliability.

While some early developers in the autonomous truck space saw potential for aftermarket installations of self-driving systems, nearly all of today’s autonomous truck developers say their technology will need to be installed on commercial trucks at the factory level.

Redundant Systems for Safety

Without a driver behind the wheel as a backup, autonomous trucks will require additional components and redundant systems to ensure safety in the event of a technical failure.

Autonomous truck platforms developed by truck makers and technology suppliers feature secondary braking and steering systems, redundant powertrain controls and cybersecurity safeguards.

Levels of Automated Driving

As development work on autonomous trucks continues, efforts to enhance and expand the capabilities of driver-assist technologies also are advancing.

Driver-Assist Technologies

Truck manufacturers and industry suppliers have been introducing advanced driver assist systems, or ADAS, that build upon the safety technologies that have been on the market for years, such as automatic emergency braking, lane departure warnings, electronic stability control and adaptive cruise control.

More recently, truck makers have begun offering driver-assist features that partially automate steering functions. These automated steering capabilities include lane keep assist and lane departure protection.

These driver-assist functions and the components and sensors that support them can be viewed as building blocks for fully autonomous vehicles.

Self-Driving Automation Levels

Nonetheless, the development of autonomous driving is largely distinct from ADAS because the technical requirements and business cases for fully autonomous vehicles differ significantly from driver-assist systems that depend on a driver to operate the vehicle.

To more clearly define the capabilities of various driver-assist and automated driving systems, SAE International has designated the following levels of vehicle automation:

  • Level 0No Automation: The driver performs all aspects of driving.
  • Level 1Driver Assistance: The driver-assist system automates either acceleration/braking or steering during a specific driving mode. The driver continues to manually control the non-automated function. Example: adaptive cruise control
  • Level 2Partial Automation: The driver-assist system automates both acceleration/braking and steering during a specific driving mode. The driver must remain engaged at all times and continue to monitor the road. Example: adaptive cruise control plus automatic lane centering
  • Level 3High Automation: The automated driving system controls all aspects of driving during a specific driving mode. The driver can disengage from driving but must be ready to respond to a request to intervene.
  • Level 4Conditional Automation: The automated driving system controls all aspects of driving during a specific driving mode with no expectation that a driver will need to intervene.
  • Level 5Full Automation: The automated driving system controls all aspects of driving under all roadway and environmental conditions that can be managed by a human driver.

SAE Level 3 and below represent driver-assist systems that by definition require the presence of a driver.

SAE Levels 4 and 5 are autonomous driving systems that do not require any driver input or fallback performance while active and are agnostic on the presence of a driver in the vehicle.

Trucks With No Driver

Autonomous truck developers generally are targeting Level 4 automated driving with no driver onboard. Although these trucks would not require a driver, these vehicles would only be able to operate on routes and under conditions that fit into the technology’s operational design domain.

SAE Level 5 autonomy, where an unmanned vehicle can handle all routes and driving conditions that a human driver could negotiate, is a much greater technical challenge and therefore highly unlikely to be realized for decades to come.

Timing of Large-Scale Deployment Remains Unclear

Industry stakeholders from truck manufacturers to industry suppliers and technology developers increasingly see the rollout of autonomous trucks not as a question of if, but of when.

Deploying Autonomous Trucks at Scale

However, the precise timing for meaningful commercial deployment of autonomous trucks at scale remains elusive.

In the trucking industry, the prospect of highly automated vehicles became a more prominent topic in 2014 and 2015 with the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 and Freightliner Inspiration concept trucks.

Since then, numerous technology companies and startup firms have joined the push to develop various forms of highly automated driving capabilities for commercial vehicles.

In addition, the transition to a 5G wireless network is likely to open up new opportunities in terms of autonomous trucking technology.

Self-Driving Passenger Cars

Autonomous driving technology for the freight transportation industry is developing in parallel with the deployment of autonomous passenger cars in ride-hailing operations.

Google sister company Waymo and General Motors subsidiary Cruise are now operating fully driverless robotaxis in select geographies such as Phoenix, San Francisco and Austin, Texas.

Much like autonomous trucks, the development and rollout of driverless passenger cars was many years in the making. Waymo, for example, began in 2009 as the Google self-driving car project but did not begin offering its fully autonomous ride-hailing service to the public until 2020.

In the mid-2000s, autonomous vehicle challenges held by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, helped kick start and inspire further development of self-driving vehicles.


The road to autonomous trucking has been long and winding.

Many technology developers and startups have set out to solve the technical and operational challenges of deploying autonomous trucks. Some of those companies have come and gone, been acquired, exited the industry or pivoted to different business cases. Others continue to make progress toward their goal of large-scale commercial deployments of autonomous trucks.

Along the way, developers have been working to address the many operational details of effectively integrating autonomous trucks into real-world freight networks, including vehicle and system maintenance and interactions with law enforcement.

Deployments also will hinge on public acceptance. Developers will need to build trust with government regulators, elected officials and the motoring public.

Regulatory and Safety Concerns

Regulatory and legislative frameworks for autonomous trucks will continue to evolve at the state and federal levels.

Although autonomous trucks appear poised to become an increasingly important part of the freight transportation system at some point in the coming years and decades, the timing and pace of these deployments remain fluid and subject to many variables. But the development work, on-road testing and industry collaboration of the past several years have brought this future into much clearer focus.

Einride Begins Regular Unmanned Moves for GE Appliances

By Seth Clevenger, Transport Topics

An unmanned cargo vehicle operated by Swedish startup Einride has begun transporting goods on a regular basis for GE Appliances at a private site in Selmer, Tenn., the companies announced Nov. 13.

Einride’s autonomous electric transport, or AET, is moving finished air conditioning units from GE Appliances’ manufacturing facility to its nearby warehouse via a private roadway Mondays through Thursdays.

The electric-powered autonomous vehicle, which has no cab or steering wheel, crawls forward at a methodical pace, moving at an average speed of 3 mph on a newly constructed transport lane. The private roadway is owned by GE Appliances but open to other vehicles, although the road does not see much traffic, an Einride spokesman said. Each trip covers about 0.3 mile.

Einride said the route illustrates how autonomous vehicles can be deployed through its freight-capacity-as-a-service model, in which shippers pay a monthly subscription to access the company’s vehicles, software, maintenance and support.

Tiffany Heathcott, the first remote operator hired by Einride, works on-site to monitor the vehicle’s progress as it transports goods autonomously.

This long-term deployment builds upon Einride’s previous collaboration with GE Appliances. The companies tested the autonomous vehicle in a gated environment in 2021 and conducted an unmanned pilot on a public road in Selmer in 2022.

“We are very proud to partner with GE Appliances and be able to lead the industry in providing autonomous technology and deploying it in the strongest commercial use case today,” said Henrik Green, general manager of autonomous technologies at Einride.

Einride’s AET is part of a broader project aimed at creating an automated logistics system that improves worker safety and efficiency at GE Appliances’ site in Selmer.

The home appliance manufacturer also has partnered with other technology developers such as TaskWatch and Slip Robotics.

TaskWatch is providing artificial intelligence-enabled cameras to trigger a control board to raise and lower the dock doors and lock the Einride vehicle in place. Then the Slip robot automatically loads and unloads the vehicle, reducing loading times by 80%.

“This implementation in Selmer is helping us reduce emissions, allowing our employees to focus on high-value tasks, reducing traffic in congested areas to create a safer work environment, and eliminating some of the most challenging ergonomic tasks like climbing on and off a forklift and hooking and unhooking trailers,” Harry Chase, senior director of central materials at GE Appliances, said in the announcement. “We believe robotics and automation technology should work with and for people to improve their jobs.”

Einride, founded in 2016, is developing and deploying a range of connected electric and autonomous commercial vehicles, along with charging infrastructure and fleet management technology to support them.

Daimler Truck North America Commits $1.3M To Support PSU

By University Communications, Portland State University

Daimler Truck North America has made a $1.3 million philanthropic investment to support faculty and students in Portland State University’s School of Business and its Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The commitment will provide scholarships and assistantships for undergraduates and graduate students in business and engineering. It will also provide support to establish two professorships, one in the PSU School of Business and one in the PSU Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science.

“We are honored by this gift from a key regional employer whose industry leadership and community investments have long had a profound impact on Oregon,” said PSU President Ann Cudd. “Portland State educates a diverse talent pipeline for business and industry. We look forward to deepening a relationship that has been great for students, beneficial for Daimler Truck and important to Portland.”

As the state’s urban-serving public university, PSU educates the largest percentage of diverse, first-generation students — more than 80% of whom remain in the region when they graduate, contributing to Oregon’s long-term growth and stability.

“Daimler Truck North America has long had a strong partnership with PSU, with more than 600 alumni working here over the years,” said Angela Lentz, chief people officer for Daimler Truck North America. “This philanthropic commitment is intended to help build a talent pipeline, enhance research collaborations around industry-applicable topics, and drive regional business and industry growth.”

“Daimler Truck and PSU share fundamental areas of overlapping interest and expertise in engineering and business,” said Joseph Bull, dean of the PSU Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. “By leveraging these capabilities, we can jointly pursue research collaborations in areas such as autonomous vehicles and advanced manufacturing, and pursue innovative solutions to emerging challenges.”

“The fact that this gift supports faculty and students alike reflects Daimler Truck’s long-term partnership with the university,” said Cliff Allen, dean of the PSU School of Business. “For decades, Daimler Truck leaders have shared industry knowledge, reviewed curriculum and research findings, and mentored high-potential students. They have worked alongside us to inspire tomorrow’s diverse talent.”