Iveco and Plus team up for testing of autonomous driving tech
By Julian Buckley20 December 2021
Iveco has teamed up with Plus (formerly Plus.ai) to begin validation and integration of Plus’s autonomous trucking technology.
The tech will feature on the latest generation of Iveco S-Way heavy-duty trucks.
The first joint trial will test the performance of the Plus system across a wide variety of environments and driving conditions. It will cover both driver-in scenarios, together with Level 4 autonomous driving.
Marco Liccardo, designated CTO and digital officer at Iveco Group, said: “As the only autonomous trucking technology company that has already started delivering a commercial product to customers in the heavy-haulage sector, Plus has developed a clear and compelling strategy to launch a driver-in solution first and then a Level 4 autonomous truck.
“This is in line with our customer-centric view of a more automated and safe truck aiming at improving productivity and reducing operating costs,” he added.
Headquartered in Silicon Valley, California, Plus is developing a high-performance, full-stack Level 4 driving technology. Autonomous driving is based on five levels, with Level 5 being fully-autonomous in any situation. Level 4 is fully-autonomous, but only in set areas designed to support this type of vehicle operation.
This would likely take the shape of autonomous highway driving, with a driver taking over to pilot the vehicle from highway to destination.
Data from trials not related to this Iveco partnership has shown that autonomous operation of off-road vehicles can reduce engine emissions by up to 60% in some instances, due to optimised operation and the systems taking advantage of terrain geography.
Such autonomous systems could, in the long-term, help to alleviate the shortage of truck drivers. In the US alone, Forbes reports that there is a shortfall of 80,000 drivers, largely due to retirement and driver turnover.