UK-based commercial vehicle company Hydrogen Vehicle Systems (HVS) has been awarded £6.6 million in government funding to develop the world’s first autonomous, zero-emission HGV, led by Hub2Hub. The consortium of HVS, Fusion Processing Ltd and ASDA will develop two prototype vehicles with Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities.
The first hydrogen-electric HGV prototype will have a driver’s cab and will be tested on the road with autonomous driving capabilities using Fusion Processing Ltd’s automated driving system, CAVStar. A driver will be behind the wheel for safety purposes. The second prototype will remove the driver’s cab. This vehicle will be evaluated on test roads. In this application, the CAVStar system will be controlled by a remote driver at the control center.
With these two prototypes, future logistics applications will see vehicles operated in autonomous mode on a route between hubs, with a remote driver taking control to drive the vehicle from the hub to its final location. With the help of LIDARs, cameras and artificial intelligence, sensor technologies embedded in vehicles promise operational safety without human intervention.
The implementation of this advanced system aims to provide a next-generation solution to today’s shortcomings. Solving the driver shortage problem and improving driver quality in the logistics sector will be possible thanks to remotely controlled vehicles. This will allow drivers to stay local and take advantage of less intensive driving shifts for a better work-life cycle. This can also enable fleet operators to streamline processes more efficiently.