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Beer trucks that drive themselves … what’s next?

November 10, 2016

Ok. So we all know self-driving heavy vehicles are a ‘thing’ and that they will be part of road traffic in the not-so-distant future.

In Colorado, USA, Budweiser just delivered what it claims is the world’s first shipment by a self-driving truck – 51,744 cans of Budweiser beer from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, traveling through downtown Denver during the trip.

In fact, a professional driver wasn’t even in the driver’s seat for the entire 190-km trip, instead monitoring the self-driving system from the sleeper berth in the back.

The self-driving truck is equipped with cameras, radar and sensors to ‘see’ the road and control the truck’s acceleration, braking and steering to carry the beer exit-to-exit without human intervention.
It’s great to see that ‘vital supplies’ were delivered in this ground-breaking journey!

In other heavy vehicle news …

UK-based electric vehicle company Charge says it will release a range of electric vehicles for sale in 2017.

“We find trucks today totally unacceptable, said Charge CEO Denis Sverdlov. “At Charge we are making trucks the way they should be – affordable, elegant, quiet, clean and safe. We are removing all the barriers to entry for electric vehicles by pricing them in line with conventional trucks, giving every fleet manager, tradesman or company, no matter how big or small, the opportunity to change the way they transport goods and make our towns and cities better places to live in.”

Charge says its vehicles – ranging from 3.5 to 26 tonnes – are built using revolutionary ultra-lightweight composite materials that significantly reduce weight and when combined with Charge’s custom built hardware, including power electronics and motors, they have been able to reduce the cost of operating by more than 50 per cent.

“In an industry which is driven by price and weight, this will help to transform the highly complex logistics sector,” said Sverdlov.

The vehicles are described as being ‘autonomous-ready’, built for future driverless regulations and ready at the push of a button.

harge trucks also produce zero emissions for the first 160 kms. For longer journeys a dual mode can be used to ‘top up’ the battery and extend the range to 800 kms.

But wait, there’s more…

Sverdlov says an entire Charge truck can be built by one person in just four hours – which means that 10 men, working two shifts a day can assemble 10,000 trucks a year. Could this spell a resurgence in local vehicle manufacturing in this country?

How would Australia’s heavy vehicle national laws deal with autonomous vehicles and the infrastructure to support charging of electric trucks?

How could your business benefit from lightweight trucks that can carry greater payloads without the need for a driver?

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