Daimler Now Working on Level 4 Autonomous Trucks with Luminar

Autonomous technologies have been around for a while, but only in recent years did they grow important enough to be considered a worthy investment into the future of motoring. For passenger cars, that future might still be a long way out, but not the same can be said about freight trucks.
Daimler Western Star 49X 5 photos
Photo: Daimler
2021 Western Star 49X2021 Western Star 49X2021 Western Star 49X2021 Western Star 49X
Unlike cars, freight trucks aren't usually allowed on city streets, and usually follow the path of least resistance to their destination. That makes them ideal for automation, and the likes of Tesla, Volvo, Daimler, and a few others have been working on making autonomous trucks a reality for a while.

In Daimler’s case, the research got a major boost this week after the Germans announced the signing of a deal with autonomous software and hardware company Luminar Technologies. The goal of the deal is to have Level 4 Daimler trucks on the roads globally, and to speed things along, Daimler announced it acquired an undisclosed minority stake in Luminar.

“Luminar has pioneered a critical enabling technology for bringing automated vehicles to the road, and we’re excited to work closely with them to drive this technology forward,” said in a statement Dr. Peter Vaughan Schmidt, Head of Autonomous Technology Group at Daimler Trucks.

“Their company has proven visionary in its focus and unique ability to enable long-range sensing and high-speed driving on the highway. Our common goal is to enable safe deployment of highly automated trucks and shape the future of the trucking and logistics industry at large.”

Neither Daimler nor Luminar made any predictions on when we’ll get to see a working prototype on the roads.

The Florida-based startup is one of the stars of this emerging industry. In May this year, Volvo selected it for the development of the Highway Pilot feature that should be made available on cars built from 2022 on the new SPA 2 modular vehicle architecture. Volvo has been a shareholder in Luminar since 2018.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows the Western Star 49X truck.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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