Volvo and Daimler join forces for software-defined truck

Daimler Truck and Volvo Group, the parent company of Volvo Trucks and Renault Trucks, have signed a preliminary agreement to form a joint venture to develop a software-defined vehicle platform in the heavy-duty sector. The new company hopes to get started in 2025.

The software-defined vehicle (SDV) is a term also used by Hyundai, Renault, and Ford in the passenger car and light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment. It defines a highly connected and digitalized vehicle that uses software as a primary development tool, enabling new features over the vehicle’s lifetime.

Joint venture to accelerate development

This is also a significant evolution in the heavy-duty segment, according to Daimler Truck and Volvo Group, which have decided to form a 50/50 joint venture to pool their resources in developing a software-defined heavy-duty vehicle platform with standard hardware.

The joint venture will operate as an independent company with its own name, although it will be based in Gothenburg, Sweden, where Volvo Group has its headquarters. Both companies have signed a non-binding preliminary agreement, with a final agreement expected before the end of the year.

The Volvo Trucks FM Low Entry is the brand’s first electric-only model /Volvo Trucks

SDV as a service

If the authorities don’t see this cooperation as a threat to competition in the truck space, the new company should launch in early 2025. To strengthen their case, Daimler and Volvo already communicated that they “will remain fierce competitors and continue to differentiate their complete product and service offerings, including their respective digital solutions.”

This joint venture aims to provide Mercedes Trucks, Volvo Trucks, and Renault Trucks with a highly digitalized heavy-duty vehicle platform and offer it to other OEMs as well. These OEMs can then differentiate themselves through specific software layers.

Daimler and Volvo are already working together

Daimler Truck and Volvo Group have already collaborated. They are both part of Milence, the joint venture that aims to create a European fast-charging network for trucks, and Cellcentric, which develops hydrogen fuel cells for trucks.

Daimler Truck and Volvo Group will work together intensively on ‘the heart of the system,’ the fuel cells like this Cellcentric twin-fuel-cell system for heavy-duty application /Daimler Truck

‘Paradigm shift’

Martin Daum, CEO of Daimler Truck, comments: “Just as important as the transformation toward CO2-neutral drive technologies is the digitalization of the vehicle. Developing a common software-defined vehicle platform with Volvo Group will enable us to turn our vehicles into programmable devices. It will allow us to build differentiating digital vehicle features with significantly greater speed and efficiency.”

Martin Lundstedt, Volvo Group President and CEO, adds: “Given the rapid transformation of our industry, it makes sense to collaborate to accelerate development, increase volumes, and share costs. Software-defined heavy-duty trucks represent a paradigm shift in this transformation. Making the truck a programmable device with standardized hardware and an operating system for fast product updates will allow both companies to create value for our customers and their customers through differentiating digital services and solutions. The partnership is truly the new leadership.”


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