Self-driving truck technology specialist Plus.ai announced a safety testing program at CES whereby the company will expand the testing of its self-driving trucks to cover all permissible continental states in the USA by the end of 2020.
The testing will include closed-course and public-road testing, with a safety driver and operations specialist on board to assume manual control if needed. The company is exploring new testing facilities and pilot runs that will broaden the complex driving scenarios that its autonomous system is capable of handling.
“We want to build a technology solution that is applicable across different weather, terrains, and driving scenarios,” said Shawn Kerrigan, COO and co-founder, Plus.ai. “Testing our trucks’ readiness means we need to put them through stringent safety tests, on every highway in the country. That is why we are committing to expand our testing to all states that allow autonomous vehicle testing by the end of this year.”
Plus.ai has already conducted testing of its autonomous trucks in 17 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. It claims to have been the first autonomous trucking company to test in many of these states.
“We look forward to having Plus.ai test their autonomous trucks in Minnesota this winter. Safety innovation is a win for everyone in the transportation system,” said Kristin White, executive director of MnDOT’s Office of Connected and Automated Vehicles.
“The smart mobility ecosystem we’ve established in Ohio is a premier testing ground for autonomous vehicles. Ohio is excited to welcome leading autonomous trucking companies like Plus.ai to test at our state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure,” added Patrick Smith, interim executive director of DriveOhio.
Plus.ai expects that the new testing sites and states will be selected by the end of first quarter in 2020, and implementation will take place through the rest of the year. Solving autonomous driving requires exposure to all kinds of long tail phenomena, the company says, but the year-long effort will accelerate that process. Through this testing program, Plus.ai is also developing new metrics that can measure the readiness of its autonomous driving system for commercial deployment.