Engineers at the new center in Portland, Ore., will draw on r&d resources at Daimler Trucks operations in Germany and India to create a global network of hundreds of specialists in the autonomous driving sphere, the company said on Wednesday.
Daimler will invest more than 2.5 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in r&d at its truck operations by 2019, with more than 500 million euros earmarked for electric heavy-duty commercial vehicles, connectivity and self-driving technology, including the new Portland r&d center, it said.
"We are pioneering technologies across the automated vehicle spectrum that make roads safer and help trucking companies boost productivity," said Sven Ennerst, head of truck product engineering at Daimler.
The announcement was made during the Daimler Trucks Capital Market and Technology Day at Portland where the division already has a significant r&d presence including a heavy-duty truck wind tunnel.
Daimler also plans to expand its lineup of battery-powered trucks to help comply with tougher carbon dioxide emissions rules in Europe, said Martin Daum, head of the division.
Serial production of the eActros truck with an operating range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) will start in 2021, said Ennerst, citing tests with other models including the eFuso and eCanter trucks.
A presentation revealed that Daimler has plans for more than a dozen more electrified trucks worldwide, including the new eCascadia model for North America to compete with Tesla's planned long-distance Semi electric truck.
Separately, Daimler Trucks expects a strong second half of the year but second-quarter business remains challenging, its finance chief said, citing problems in the supply chain.
"Q2 will be challenging but we see a strong second half of the year," Jochen Goetz said.
"We are currently facing some problems on the supply chain, we will not lose a single truck but some (trucks) might be invoiced in Q3."
A new restructuring will not be needed, Goetz said, adding the truckmaker would focus on executing its previous savings plan and aim to lower costs by 1.4 billion euros as planned by 2019.