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Automated ‘self-driving’ big rigs now being tested on Virginia roads

"Self-driving' truck (PHOTO: Daimler AG)

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics announced this week testing of its automated ‘self-driving’ trucks had begun on Virginia roads. The testing is underway on highways near Torc Robotics headquarters in Blacksburg.

“All automated runs require both an engineer overseeing the system and a highly trained safety driver certified by Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics,” a company spokesperson wrote. “All safety drivers hold a commercial driver’s license and are specially trained in vehicle dynamics and automated systems.”

Previous testing had taken place on a close loop track.

“We want to make drivers’ lives easier,” Torc CEO Michael Fleming said in a June interview about automated trucks. “Our purpose is to help reduce accidents, fatalities and stress for drivers. Truck drivers do more than just drive trucks. If we can automate portions of a trip, and give them time to read a book, watch TV, or take a nap, it can make their lives much better.”

Have you seen an automated truck in Virginia? Send us a photo.

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