Around 3,000 kilometers covered completely electrically: eActros 300 as a tractor unit glides from the Arctic Circle to Stuttgart
Development and test engineers from Mercedes-Benz Trucks have subjected the eActros 300 as a tractor unit to practical tests for six consecutive days, covering a distance of around 3,000 kilometers.The e-truck scores high marks along the way with its powerful acceleration, range-increasing recuperation, and quiet handling.
Leinfelden-Echterdingen – Driving a battery-electric heavy-duty distribution truck from the Arctic Circle to Stuttgart is something special – even for experienced developers.
In the future, customers are not likely to use the Mercedes-Benz eActros 300 as a tractor unit for this kind of a long journey. However, being able to test the vehicle in real operation for several days at a time under the most varied climatic and topographical conditions is the best opportunity for the developers to derive measures for possible optimisation of the functions and systems.
Experts from Mercedes-Benz Trucks covered around 3,000 kilometers in March with a near-series prototype of the eActros 300 as a tractor unit. The electric truck, which was specially designed for flexible use in heavy-duty distribution haulage, celebrated its trade fair premiere at IAA Transportation 2022 in Hanover. Its start of production is scheduled for autumn this year.
Before the 3,000-kilometer journey, Mercedes-Benz Trucks engineers had already extensively tested the vehicle in winter conditions as part of the tests in Rovaniemi, Finland. At temperatures of down to minus 25 degrees, in addition to handling on icy and snowy roads, the focus was particularly on the starting properties and protection of the drive components, software and interfaces from low temperatures. On the return journey, the main objective was to take a closer look at the eActros loaded to 25 tons in real traffic.
Dr. Christof Weber, Head of Global Testing Mercedes-Benz Trucks, said: “The journey from Rovaniemi to Stuttgart showed that the eActros 300 as a tractor unit reliably masters all challenges before its market launch in autumn this year. This applies in terms of energy efficiency and charging, as well as driving comfort and safety.”
Relaxed, comfortable and safe cruising without fears of limited range
Rovaniemi, Stockholm, Malmö, Copenhagen, Nyborg, Flensburg, Hamburg, then on the A7 highway down to Würzburg and from there via the A81 highway back to Stuttgart: A real marathon for the eActros 300 as a tractor unit, whose three battery packages – each with 112 kWh of installed battery capacity – enable a range of up to 220 kilometers without opportunity charging.
“In advance, we planned the individual stages precisely and very conservatively with around 150 kilometers in order to be able to drive to the planned charging points without any problems, even in traffic jams or stop-and-go traffic,” reports Marc Schniederjan, team leader at Mercedes-Benz Trucks, responsible for the operation of test vehicles and who coordinated and supervised the return journey.
On the road on European and main roads, as well as highways with different topography, drivers were impressed by the relaxed driving without noticeable interruptions to gearshifts or traction. The electric motors provide exactly the same high torque throughout the entire rpm range, and the powerful acceleration is noticeable in every traffic situation.
Daimler Truck Joanna Buttler, Head of Global Autonomous Technology Group.
The noise level in the cab remained at a comfortable level at all times. Even at icy temperatures, the cab warmed up relatively quickly. The vehicle was pre-conditioned at a charging station in order to avoid using too much battery energy and thus shorten the range.
“With only minimal temperatures below zero, the loss of range was limited even without pre-conditioning,” said Marc Schniederjan. When driving at a speed of normally 80 km/h, it was also easy to see how the eActros 300 as a tractor unit used its energy by means of recuperation and thus increased the range.
On average, the teams took a charging break in the two vehicles three times a day. The charging itself worked without any problems at the available public DC high-power charging stations.
Without restrictions, the eActros 300 as a tractor unit was also able to cope with a wide variety of weather conditions including snow, cold and storms. The installed driver assistance systems proved their worth, as did the second-generation MirrorCam.Source: www.media.daimlertruck.com
Autonomous Trucking: Daimler Truck subsidiary Torc reaches agreement to acquire Algolux for AI-based self-driving perception
Blacksburg, VA, USA / Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany – Torc Robotics, an independent subsidiary of Daimler Truck AG and a pioneer in commercializing self-driving vehicle technology, recently announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Algolux Inc.
Torc is acquiring Algolux for its award-winning intellectual property and expertise in the areas of computer vision and machine learning.
“On the path to commercialization of our autonomous-ready Freightliner Cascadia, with Torc’s virtual driver, we never stop improving safety. We are convinced that Algolux with its perception capabilities can bring us one step closer to reach our goal to safely and reliably bring SAE Level 4 autonomous trucks into series production in the USA within this decade,” said Joanna Buttler, Head of Autonomous Technology Group at Daimler Truck AG.
Peter Vaughan Schmidt, Torc CEO, noted: “We’re thrilled to welcome Algolux to the Torc family.Algolux’s technology, at the intersection of deep learning, computer vision, and computational imaging, will help Torc strengthen key capabilities toward our commercialization of Level 4 autonomous trucking.”
Allan Benchetrit, Algolux president and CEO, underscored Torc’s strong commitment in harnessing technology’s potentials without compromising people’s safety.
“Torc shares in our commitment to create robust technology to realize the potential of autonomy and help save lives, which is one of the many reasons why joining forces makes sense for our teams. Algolux’s established team with deep expertise in Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) talent and perception complements Torc’s already experienced engineering team,” he said.
Algolux has been consistently recognized for excellence in its field and has been named to the 2021 CB Insights AI 100 List of the world’s most innovative artificial intelligence startups. Torc has been working closely with the company for over a year on multiple perception concepts and methods for robustly improving object detection and distance estimation, while evaluating synergies between the two companies.
Robust perception technology is key to helping Torc’s autonomous system correctly identify objects in difficult visual conditions such as low light, fog, or inclement weather. Algolux software is currently operating on initial Freightliner Cascadia test vehicles in the U.S. and is being included in areas of Torc’s software development efforts.
“This acquisition brings together Algolux’s end-to-end AI stack, from photons to behavior, with Torc’s pioneering autonomous technology. Add in a tightly integrated OEM truck platform and you have a dream scenario,” said Felix Heide, Algolux CTO. “While many think of autonomous transportation as futuristic, this winning combination will help bring to market a commercially viable, safety-critical long- haul trucking application at scale.”
Algolux is headquartered in Montreal, Canada, with offices in Palo Alto, CA, and Munich, Germany. The transaction will close after the parties complete various pre-closing activities, including any required approvals.Source: www.media.daimlertruck.com