StreetDrone to take proven autonomous HGV logistics from proof-of-concept to commercial service

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The V-CAL project has been awarded £4 million from the government’s £42 million Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) competition through the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV).

  • Driver-out HGV brings autonomous solutions to near-term deployability for industrial logistics operators 
  • Near-term deployability of automation offers productivity, efficiency, safety and emissions gains for industrial operators
  • Funding for Project V-CAL comes from government with match-funded industry support
  • Project V-CAL led by North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA)
Lee Hargadon, Head of Enterprise & Public Sector UK & Ireland, Nokia; Mike Potts, Co-Founder and CEO, StreetDrone; Steve Sutcliffe, General Manager Inbound Logistics & ILN, Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK; Michael Talbot, Deputy Head, Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV); Martin Kendall, Managing Director, Vantec Europe Limited; Paul Butler, CEO, North East Automotive Alliance; Chris Appleby, Innovation Manager, North East Automotive Alliance

Oxford, UK, 01 February 2023. As announced today, StreetDrone will assume technology leadership in the second stage of a project to deliver connected and autonomous logistics (CAL) as part of a wider £84m funding announcement for driverless technologies.

As a leading developer of automated logistics technology that reduces costs, improves productivity, enables industrial decarbonisation and enhances industrial safety, StreetDrone’s mission is to enable commercially viable & scalable driver-out autonomous logistics for operators managing ports, RDCs, airports and manufacturing and industrial sites, as well as the OEMs developing specialist vehicles for these environments.  

The successful first phase of the project delivered a working proof-of-concept (PoC) demonstration of the autonomous and teleoperation of a 40-tonne truck, with live loads delivered from Vantec to Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK (NMUK) fully autonomously without intervention by a safety driver. 

The second stage of the project announced today will see StreetDrone’s automated logistics demonstrate scalability and proof of fully operational deployment in a complex industrial environment, moving beyond a trial stage and into supporting two real industrial use cases. Up to four zero-emission autonomous HGVs will be deployed on private roads and will navigate traffic lights, roundabouts and other road users. 

With 20b tonnes of freight moved globally annually, including 1b container movements, driving efficiencies into industrial logistics using autonomous vehicles has enormous potential to confer market leadership on early adopters. Moreover, automation works in tandem with electrification, reducing emissions and provides a solution to the international shortage of skilled HGV drivers.

Project V-CAL will provide validation that these gains can be achieved in a representative and complex industrial logistics context in the short term.

Under the auspices of the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA), StreetDrone will partner with Vantec, Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK (NMUK), Nokia, Newcastle University, Angoka, BP International Limited and Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP to deliver Project V-CAL

The V-CAL project, based in Sunderland, has been awarded £4 million from the government’s £42 million Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) competition through the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV).

Mike Potts, Co-Founder and CEO of StreetDrone said, “In the first phase of the CAL project, we demonstrated that teleoperated and fully automated HGV deliveries could be deployed in a complex industrial context. With this new phase of work to scale driver-out deliveries into a viable service, we are keen to show that the benefits of autonomy can be achieved in the near-term for operators.”

Paul Butler, CEO at the NEAA, said, “The North East region is uniquely placed to develop, test and commercialise CAL technologies. It is home to a critical mass of local manufacturing industry, with ambitious growth plans. 

“We are delighted to be awarded V-CAL project funding to be able to scale and expand the initial 5G CAL proof of concept, which ended in 2022, and provide two real industrial use cases for the scale and deployment of connected and autonomous logistics. The logistics sector is strategically important to the North East and UK economy, and this provides an opportunity to build resilience in the sector and for the UK to take a leading role in the development and commercialisation of CAL technologies.”

‘Brilliant stuff. While other autonomous developers are chasing distant goals that just keep getting further away, you’re actually doing something useful, that works, and that is commercially viable. That’s true vision.’ Nir Kahn, Director of Design at Plasan

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