Daimler's heavy-duty truck division last week officially opened a new research facility in central Oregon.
Daimler Trucks North America executives said that the High Desert Proving Grounds in Madras will help validate the company's research and engineering as well as bring new technology to market more quickly.
Preliminary work on the 87-acre site began in 2015 and construction started about one year ago. The project's costs totaled $18.7 million.
“The opening of this facility will ensure the future reliability of our products, as well as expedite of future technologies that enhance our customers’ bottom line," DTNA CEO Roger Nielsen said in a statement.
In addition to the features on the Madras campus, the site provides varying climate conditions and easy access for the DTNA engineers at the division's Portland headquarters about 120 miles away.
The route from Madras to Portland also offers DNTA — which includes the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses brands — the ability to test its trucks on interstate highways, rural roads and mountainous terrain.
That path was previously used to explore the benefits of platooning, in which trucks linked via Wi-Fi can follow each other closely to reduce traffic congestion and increase fuel efficiency.