Today’s Pickup: Daimler Trucks, Torc Robotics to expand autonomous driving testing

Daimler Level 4 autonomous truck


Daimler Trucks (OTC: DDAIF) and its partner Torc Robotics plans to expand Level 4 autonomous vehicle testing in the U.S.,
the companies announced in a press release this morning.

Level 4 vehicles are able to
operate without a driver in the vehicle, although in current testing in
Virginia, a driver is always in the vehicle for safety reasons. The release did
not specify where the additional testing will take place.

“Safety is our highest priority. By expanding our testing to new routes in the U.S. we are able to learn more, work with various partners and apply our advanced testing methods to new environments. ThesFDaie learnings help us to achieve our goal of safe and reliable highly automated driving, delivering value to our customers and society,” Peter Vaughan Schmidt, head of autonomous technology group at Daimler Trucks, said.

Daimler and Torc began testing
Level 4 vehicles in southwest Virginia last year.

Last year, Daimler introduced Detroit 5.0 with Active Lane Assist on its Freightliner Cascadia. Detroit
Assurance 5.0 features an integrated radar and camera system and offers active
lane assist, collision mitigation, and adaptive cruise control among other
features. It will maintain lane position of a truck and can stop a vehicle if
it detects an impending collision.

The test trucks use Torc’s Asimov
autonomous driving system.

“We have always said that
commercializing road-ready Level 4 vehicles is a marathon, not a sprint. By
partnering with Daimler Trucks, the inventor of the truck and market leader of
the industry, we believe the technology will be introduced safely and
reliably,” Michael Fleming, CEO of Torc Robotics, said.

Did you know?

In its earnings call, Walmart
executives said the company expects global ecommerce sales to top $50 billion
in 2020.


“Amid the uncertainty, we know that
COVID-19 has not cured the market’s problem of refinery overcapacity. Our core
view on the market is unchanged: diesel demand is growing too slowly to erode
the overhang in refining capacity.” 

-Energy Aspects report on the potential for future diesel price increases

In other news:

Dairy Farmers of America to acquire Dean Foods

Bankrupt Dean Foods will sell
dozens of plants to the Dairy Farmers of America, pending bankruptcy court
approval, in a bid to save jobs and key markets for milk. (Wall Street Journal)

 More than 2,700 vessels have scrubbers installed

According to data from Lloyd’s List
Intelligence, 2,753 vessels have had scrubbers that meet IMO 2020 regulations
installed so far. (Lloyd’s List)

Supply chain woes to hit Apple earnings

Supply chain woes in China because
of the coronavirus will impact Apple earnings, the company said. (Wolf Street)

Dem candidates tackle infrastructure

A forum this week gave Democratic
candidates for president a chance to lay out their vision for infrastructure,
should they be elected. (Roll Call)

Life without cars?

Some cities are looking to restrict
automotive traffic in some areas in a quest to speed up public transit and
reduce harmful emissions. (Route Fifty)

Final thoughts

A lot of news happening, but one
that will potentially fly under the radar is the announcement agreement that
the Dairy Farmers of America will acquire dozens of plants from bankrupt Dean
Foods. The agreement, if approved by the bankruptcy court, will ensure production
capacity remains for milk and related products, potentially halting a dangerous
time in the industry that could have led to a milk shortage and driven prices
skyward. Borden Dairy, also one of the largest dairy producers, filed for
bankruptcy in January. Both companies face similar problems – fewer Americans
drinking milk and small family farms that are shutting down at near-record
rates – but the loss of these two heavyweights could have devasted an already
fragile dairy industry. The Dairy Farmers may have saved the day, at least

Hammer down, everyone!