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Daimler ventures into world of autonomous driving

Daimler Truck is in the midst of developing a scalable truck platform for autonomous driving, based on the Freightliner Cascadia.

According to the manufacturer, the platform will be perfectly suited for SAE Level 4 autonomous driving, including redundancy systems needed to achieve safe and reliable operations.

Daimler says it hopes to see the system set new industry standards.

It says the four key areas with a redundant architecture are the braking system, the steering system, the low voltage power net and the network communications.

If any of the primary systems encounter a fault, the Level 4 vehicle will be able to monitor, assess and deploy its backup systems to control the truck safely.

If a fault is deemed critical to the operation of the vehicle, the autonomous driving system will allow the truck to follow a safety protocol and be able to execute a “minimal risk manoeuvre” to come to a safe stop.

The platform uses two electronic control units (ECU) – a primary and a secondary system. Together, they ensure full brake performance, to safely execute a minimal risk manoeuvre in case one system is not operating properly.

The same logic applies to the steering system which has two servo motors. In case of an electronic or hydraulic failure, the backup servo motor also receives the requested steering angle from the autonomous driving system and can react accordingly.

The unique redundant truck chassis is being developed for Waymo Via based on their specifications. A first version of the truck has already been delivered this year for integration of the Waymo Driver, the autonomous driving system.

Dr Peter Vaughan Schmidt, head of Autonomous Technology Group at Daimler Truck explained, “Every smart autonomous driving system needs a strong foundation: our Level 4 vehicle platform based on the Freightliner Cascadia is ideal for integration of autonomous software, hardware and compute. It can significantly contribute to enhancing safety in traffic thanks to its redundancy of systems and a multitude of sensors. It brings us much closer to our vision of accident-free driving.”

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