Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, among others, is going to work with Waymo on an autonomous truck. It is a Freightliner Cascadia with extra sensors that the company wants to sell to customers in ‘the coming years’.
According to Daimler, this is a truck that can drive itself based on the SAE L4 standard. This means that the truck can drive itself in certain circumstances and that the driver does not have to intervene. As a result, the truck will, for example, be able to drive in or on certain pre-programmed cities and highways, but not at new locations.
For the collaboration, Daimler will supply the truck and Waymo will adapt it with the autonomous Waymo Driver equipment. According to the supplied image, the Freightliner Cascadia truck will have a beam at the front above the windshield that includes two LiDAR systems. On either side of the grille will be two sensors, presumably radar or camera sensors.
The two parties are currently only supplying the modified Cascadia for the US market. Daimler and Waymo are still investigating whether other trucks and markets are also possible. According to Reuters, Waymo has said it will be some time before the autonomous trucks hit the road. Suppliers, for example, still have to develop and deliver the necessary braking and steering systems, says Waymo CEO John Krafcik. Krafcik talks about a ‘super long timeline’.
In addition to the agreement with Waymo, Daimler is working independently on an autonomous driving truck. Waymo has worked in the past with Paccar, the parent company of Peterbilt and Kenworth, on autonomous trucks. Waymo says to Reuters that he now has no agreement with that company.