Hydrogen Vehicle Systems (HVS), a UK-based hydrogen-powered commercial vehicle innovator, today reveals that the consortium it leads, Hub2Hub, has been awarded £6.6 million to develop and deliver a revolutionary, world-first, autonomous zero-emission HGV for the UK market.
Accelerating towards the next generation of transportation and logistics, the Hub2Hub consortium will create a self-driving heavy goods tractor unit, which will begin vehicles trials in 2024, with major UK retailer, ASDA, supporting on end user needs as strategic partners. It’s hoped that the cost savings an autonomous lorry could provide will speed up the adoption of zero-emissions vehicles by the freight sector, reducing the industry’s contribution to climate change.
The £12 million venture has been selected by the Centre for Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) as a recipient for its joint industry and government-funded project with the aim of showcasing the potential of autonomy in the transportation sector with unprecedented levels of efficiency, safety and operational cost savings for logistics operators, as well as providing new employment opportunities.
HVS, which laid out its plans to disrupt the haulage industry by revealing its game-changing
hydrogen- electric powertrain technology demonstrator in November 2022, will receive £3.4 million as one of seven grants being announced today from the CCAV and Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) programme.
The consortium, made up of world leaders in their fields HVS, Fusion Processing Ltd and ASDA, will build two prototype vehicles that will allow Level 4 autonomous-driving.
The first hydrogen-electric HGV prototype will be fitted with a driver’s cab and tested on the road in autonomous operation, using the Fusion Processing Ltd’s Automated Drive System, CAVStar®, with a human safety driver at the wheel.
The second prototype will have the driver’s cab removed and replaced by an aerodynamic fairing. During the project this vehicle will be evaluated on test tracks, with the CAVStar system in this application allowing a remote human driver, located in a control hub, to operate the vehicle.
Together these two prototypes point to an optimised future logistics system where vehicles could be operated in autonomous mode on a hub-to-hub route, with a remote driver then taking control to drive the vehicle from the hub to its end destination.
Not only will HVS’ innovative HGV decarbonise one of the biggest polluting vehicle sectors on the road, it will expedite the development of Hub-to-Hub automated driving technology. As a UK leader in autonomous vehicles, Fusion’s collaboration in the project will see the development and integration of its advanced CAVstar system where a fusion of vision systems, AI and route planning can deliver a fully autonomous vehicle that takes over from a human driver and hands back control at pre-determined hubs on a route.
The result will help British companies seize early opportunities to develop experimental projects into scalable commercial offerings, ready for the market.
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