The near-term application of commercially viable autonomy is in logistics, and more specifically in off-highway environments where no changes to the law are required for a fully “driver-out” vehicle to operate.
On June 10th 2022 StreetDrone’s technology, built into a 40-tonne Terberg logistics vehicle, as part of the part-UK government funded 5G CAL (5G Connected Automated Logistics), delivered a fully-loaded trailer autonomously from an on-site parts warehouse via a live delivery route to the main Nissan car plant. This was a UK-first within a live industrial environment, and achieved using both autonomous and remotely-driven technology developed for this specific use-case; an off-highway environment using highly utilised delivery vehicles with a just-in-time delivery requirement.
StreetDrone are part of an eco-system of partners within the project, including the North Eastern Automotive Alliance (NEAA), Nokia, Hitachi Vantec and Nissan, each bringing different technologies, challenges and experiences in helping to find solutions to some of the supply chain issues that are currently plaguing industries around the world. StreetDrone is providing its entire autonomous system to the project, enabling the Terberg built EV “yard tractor” to be converted into a robotised platform ready for StreetDrone’s proprietary autonomous driving software to be installed.
“We are focussing entirely on where autonomous vehicles, such as the autonomous truck at Nissan, can help solve market challenges in the near-term.” says Mike Potts, CEO at StreetDrone. “At this point in the development of the technology it seems more likely that an autonomous logistics operation, running 24/7 and enabling an operator to move much more freight much more efficiently, will provide much more value, much sooner, than waiting for many, many more years for passenger vehicles to have this technology built in.”
The next stage of this 5G CAL project will involve a fully autonomous route on the same site, proving that this technology can be implemented viably and at scale for the freight and logistics industries that so desperately need it.