Iveco cabovers equipped with Plus autonomous control systems, like this model seen in Germany, will soon be delivering freight on regular routes in Australia.   -  Photo: Plus

Iveco cabovers equipped with Plus autonomous control systems, like this model seen in Germany, will soon be delivering freight on regular routes in Australia. 

Photo: Plus

Transurban and autonomous truck developer Plus have announced a partnership aimed at boosting automated-freight efficiency in Australia.

Transurban is an Australian-owned company that builds and operates toll roads in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, as well as in Washington, D.C., and Montreal, Canada.

The partnership will build on Transurban’s first self-driving truck trial on CityLink and the Monash Freeway last year to explore 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.

Smart Roads and Self-Driving Trucks

Countries around the world are starting to explore the benefits of self-driving trucks on public motorways, the two companies noted.

With road freight projected to grow steadily in the coming decades, self-driving trucks have the potential to transform the freight industry by moving more goods, more quickly, and more sustainably, according to Plus. This will also deliver positive economic and social outcomes for consumers, motorists, and governments by reducing congestion and improving road safety while helping address the shortage of truck drivers.  

Starting in 2017, Transurban’s comprehensive commercial automated vehicle 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 2022 trial was the first time in Australia that a highly automated self-driving truck was tested in live traffic conditions on public motorways.

Iveco Trucks Take the Lead

The partnership between Transurban and Plus will leverage Plus’s autonomous driving software and global commercial deployment experience, which includes the cooperation with Iveco, the global commercial vehicle brand of Iveco Group, in co-developing self-driving trucks for Europe. Highly automated trucks enabled by Plus’s technology are already delivering freight in the U.S. for world-class fleets and being tested on public roads in Germany with Iveco.

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

“Transurban roads are some of the most technologically sophisticated in the world, and we’re excited to combine our infrastructure and operational expertise with Plus’s innovative technology to bring the benefits of automated freight one step closer,” said Tien-Ti Mak, general manager for strategic innovation at Transurban.

“The adoption of self-driving trucks in specific environments can have positive outcomes for Victoria by improving road safety, increasing productivity, reducing congestion and importantly, creating jobs for the future.”

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