Nissan AV Truck Pilot Gets Green Light in UK

Driverless trucks could soon be trialed on UK highways following the agreement of government funding for a Nissan CAV pilot.

Connectivity specialist StreetDrone has won the investment as part of a consortium hoping to deliver autonomous trucks to Nissan’s Sunderland car plant in the northeast of England. The government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport grant will be used to develop 5G connected and self-driving 40 metric-ton trucks capable of moving parts and assemblies between the car plant and local businesses contributing to the carmaker’s just-in-time supply chain.

The 800-acre Nissan site claims to be Europe’s most efficient car plant and the proof-of-concept project will assess how 5G connected and autonomous logistics operations can drive more efficiency into industrial supply chain operations. The project, dubbed 5G Connected and Autonomous Logistics (5G CAL) expects to build on StreetDrone’s experience of open-source autonomous software solutions, applied to low-speed urban and suburban metropolitan areas, campuses and manufacturing plants. It plans to develop solutions spanning redundant braking systems, a driving robot capable of complex articulated truck maneuvers in confined areas and the integration of driverless software with telematics control for remote fleet management.

The consortium is made up of businesses and institutions including Sunderland City Council, Newcastle University, Vantec, Coventry University, Connected Places Catapult, The North East Automotive Alliance and Perform Green. Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure, said: “The new funding we are announcing today will help us pioneer new ways to seize the opportunities of 5G and bring tangible benefits for consumers and businesses across the country.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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