Trials of UK’s first zero-emission, automated logistics HGV underway

LinkedIn +

The 5G Connected and Automated Logistics (CAL) project is set to progress with autonomous driving testing of the UK’s first automated 40-ton truck in Sunderland, UK.

Following the announcement of Terberg as a partner earlier this year, and the arrival of an updated autonomous and electric tractor unit in March, the 5G CAL proof-of-concept trial is approaching realization as the project team continue their mission to be the first in the UK to deliver zero-emission automated logistics. Terberg’s HGV is on-site at logistics specialist Vantec in Sunderland and has now been equipped with autonomous and teleoperation technology.

The vehicle’s teleoperations system, installed in March, uses a private 5G network. The system allows remote teleoperations to instruct a team member (driver) to switch from autonomous operation to remote driver controls to deal with any unexpected conditions such as an obstacle or unexpected object on the road.

Martin Kendall, MD at Vantec Europe, said, “This is a significant step toward an autonomous supply chain on a much larger scale. Always taking safety into account, we are currently looking at potential ways to scale these technologies on the trial route.

“The key focus at this point is to optimize communication between multiple autonomous vehicles operating together. As test trials continue, we would be looking at the vehicles dealing safely with bridges, traffic lights, roundabouts and security gates – all of which you would see on a typical real-life road journey. All the while, we are accelerating the development of autonomous software for the wider industry.”

The 5G CAL team say they are embracing IoT opportunities with project partner StreetDrone, which has added a series of drive-by-wire components and live sensors as well as cameras (standard and lidar) on the vehicle’s roof. Combined with the additional lidars and cameras installed along the route, this provides the truck with an extended field-of-view, augmenting its ability to react appropriately to changes in the external environment.

Testing will continue for several weeks and will include self-driving testing on Nissan’s Sunderland test track and testing of the teleoperations system, before progressing to live route testing from mid-April. This crucial testing phase is building up to proof-of-concept trials in late May, which will continue for several weeks.

The 5G CAL pilot is a proof of concept to prove that an autonomous truck can be automated to drive between Vantec’s facility and Nissan’s Sunderland plant. The project is an evolution of the automated logistics journey that Nissan began 15 years ago into the auto guided vehicles (AGV) market.

Steve Sutcliffe, general manager of inbound logistics at Nissan, commented, “The 5G CAL project has shown us how the next level of logistics could look with further development and investment. The concept of autonomous delivery into the plant is a really exciting one, especially as we move toward a carbon-neutral future at Nissan.”

Share this story:

About Author


Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

Comments are closed.