A new test project will gather insights on the potential impact highly automated trucks will have hauling freight in Germany. - Photo: Iveco

A new test project will gather insights on the potential impact highly automated trucks will have hauling freight in Germany.  

Photo: Iveco

Italian truck OEM Iveco and autonomous technology developer Plus are partnering to bring autonomous freight movement to Germany. The two companies are partnering with dm-drogerie markt, Europe's largest retail chain of drugstores, and DSV, a global transport and logistics provider to launch an autonomous truck pilot program.

Autonomous Proof of Concept

The launch of the new automated trucking pilot program in Germany will start in the first half of 2024.

The pilot program will consist of an Iveco heavy duty truck integrated with Plus’s AI-based, driver-supervised, highly automated driving software. The truck will operate on a DSV route to transport dm-drogerie markt products in Germany’s Baden-Württemberg-Hessen region. Piloting with a logistics carrier on a bustling commercial freight route is a key enabler for the large-scale deployment of automated trucks in the coming years, the companies said.

The program’s aim is to demonstrate that state-of-the-art automated driving technology can already be used today to enhance freight transportation and make trucking safer, less stressful, more efficient, and more sustainable, according to Iveco and Plus.

A Step Toward Sustainable Logistics

Plus added that customer deployments have already shown that its driver-in solution, PlusDrive, can help reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) for fleets and improve driver job satisfaction.

“For us at dm, our automated trucking pilot is a groundbreaking and important step towards sustainable logistics,” said Christian Bodi, managing director, logistics, dm-drogerie markt. “The technology can make a significant contribution to the comfort and safety of drivers and ensure that our supply chains run more smoothly and reliably. Together with our partners, we want to use this innovative project to gather insights into the potential impact of highly automated trucks on operations for dm.”

"Sustainability is a shared value between our organizations,” explained Jens Bjørn Andersen, group CEO, DSV. “At DSV, we are defining our path towards becoming net-zero by 2050, and we are committed to supporting our partners and playing a role in the green transition of our industry and societies at large. The green transition requires new and innovative technologies, and we are always ready to take part in innovative projects like this - especially with our valued partner dm.”

“Automation is a driving force to let the transport industry evolve towards new safety and efficiency frontiers,” said Marco Liccardo, chief technology and digital officer, Iveco Group. “We are delighted that DSV and dm recognize the transformative potential of our highly automated trucks. Their collaboration with Iveco and Plus on this pilot will further advance the understanding of this technology at scale and represents a milestone for the concrete deployment of autonomous driving production series.”

Shawn Kerrigan, COO and Co-Founder at Plus, said, “Trucking is an essential but challenging job. Plus’s suite of software solutions, from the driver-in to the self-driving system, is designed to support different needs and use cases. Our collaboration with dm, DSV and IVECO will accelerate the commercial deployment of our autonomous driving technology at scale and help realize our shared vision for a safer and greener future.”

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