Transurban builds on recent self-driving truck trial with new partnership

Following a self-driving truck trial on CityLink and the Monash Freeway last year, Transurban is looking to further explore the use of self-driving trucks on public highways.

The toll road operator has today announced a new partnership with Plus, a Silicon Valley-based autonomous driving software company, as part of its plans to advance its automated freight program.

Through the partnership, Transurban says it plans to investigate “how Plus’s Level 4 autonomous driving technology, combined with smart road infrastructure, could help make trucking safer, more efficient, and more sustainable in Australia”.

The company says that countries around the world are starting to explore the benefits of self-driving trucks on public motorways, and the combination of global and local expertise that enables smart roads to communicate with self-driving trucks sets Victoria up to be “an international leader” in this space.

Transurban CEO, Scott Charlton, commented, “This partnership will support long-term opportunities for automated freight, including potential benefits to reduce congestion and improve road safety and traffic flow, and is a continuation of Transurban’s work in this area.

“Automated transport technologies are going to transform the way we move goods around cities, and with vital connections between ports and other freight hubs, our roads offer ideal conditions to facilitate this new technology.”

From 2017, Transurban’s connected and autonomous testing program has worked with governments and industry to roll out 11 successful trials of fully and partially automated vehicles on motorways across Australia and North America to test how they respond to road infrastructure.

Transurban’s successful 2022 trial was the first time a highly automated self-driving truck was tested in live traffic conditions on public motorways in Australia.

The partnership between Transurban and Plus will leverage Plus’s self-driving software and global commercial deployment experience, including its work with commercial vehicle manufacturer Iveco to co-develop self-driving trucks for Europe. Highly automated trucks enabled by Plus’s technology currently delivering freight in the US for a number of fleets and are being tested on public roads in Germany with Iveco.

Plus’s self-driving software uses generative AI, machine learning, computer vision, and other state-of-the-art algorithms. Integrated with advanced lidar, radar, and camera sensors, Plus’s software can detect and precisely track objects, predict their movement, and then safely manoeuvre the vehicle.

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