Hydrogen-power is one of the underrepresented sustainable transportation technologies of the century and Hydrogen Vehicle Systems (HVS) is set to bring the first self-driving vehicle of this kind to market.
The company received recognition at the E-mobility Awards in January 2023, awarded as the top performer in the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle category.
To kick start its work in February, the UK Government has granted the company £6.6mn in funding to accelerate the development of its self-driving hydrogen-powered HGV.
The announcement comes as forecasts predict significant expansion of self-driving capabilities, particularly at a time when autonomous vehicles provide huge sustainability benefits, by simplifying adoption of electrified solutions, optimising trips, and making trips safer for drivers and passengers.
By 2035, 40% of new vehicles sold in the UK will have some form of self-driving capability, which marks a huge leap forward for technology-driven transport and will encourage a surge in autonomous vehicle market value to £41.7bn.
“A transport revolution is taking place in the UK and HVS, together with the consortium, is at the forefront of the innovation,” Jawad Khursheed, CEO of HVS.
“We are engineering the world’s first autonomous hydrogen-electric powered HGV to demonstrate hub-to-hub logistics to a leading retailer, ASDA, to elevate public perception, showcasing the potential autonomy can deliver thanks to increased safety and fuel savings, and develop new business models.”
Developing zero-emissions vehicles alongside a leading supermarket chain
The consortium led by the company, Hub2Hub, was awarded the funds to develop the vehicle, which is set to begin trials in 2024 with the UK retailer, ASDA.
“Reducing our fleet emissions is a major part of our plan of moving towards net zero, so we are keen to look at innovative new technology, such as autonomous HGV tractor units, which can make a real difference to our carbon footprint. We will continue to work with like-minded partners on projects such as this to reduce our impact on the environment,” Sean Clifton, Senior Fleet Manager at ASDA.
The aim of the strategic partnership is to speed up the adoption of zero-emission transport solutions through cost-reduction efforts. The first prototype model of the vehicle will be fitted with a driver’s cab and road-tested using Fusion processing Limited’s Automated Drive System called CAVStar® with a driver at the wheel.
“Our market analysis indicates that the commercial vehicle segments such as haulage are where we will see autonomous vehicle technology first used in large scale deployments,” Jim Hutchinson, CEO of Fusion Processing.
“Hub2Hub is a perfect showcase of what the advanced version of our CAVstar Automated Drive System can achieve. Combining SAE Level 4 autonomous driving with tele-operation to deliver safer and more efficient vehicle operations.”
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