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StreetDrone secures funding for 5G autonomous truck project
StreetDrone, an Oxford-based autonomous technology company, has secured government funding as part of a consortium tasked with delivering an autonomous logistics capability to Nissan’s Sunderland car plant.
The £2.4m grant, provided by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, will be used to develop 5G connected and self-driving 40-tonne trucks capable of moving parts and assemblies between Nissan’s Sunderland manufacturing plant and local businesses contributing to the car maker’s just-in-time supply chain.
The proof-of-concept project at Nissan’s 800 acre site will assess how 5G connected and autonomous logistics operations can drive more efficiency into industrial supply chain operations.
The project – 5G Connected and Autonomous Logistics (5G CAL) – will require StreetDrone to develop both software and hardware solutions spanning redundant braking systems, a driving robot capable of complex articulated truck manoeuvres in confined areas and the integration of driverless software with telematic control for remote fleet management.
Matt Warman, minister for digital infrastructure, said: “The new funding we are announcing today will help us pioneer new ways to seize the opportunities of 5G and bring tangible benefits for consumers and businesses across the country.”
Mike Potts, chief executive officer of StreetDrone, believes that logistics can be one of the first commercially viable autonomous services and the 5G CAL project provides an ideal testbed for the roll-out of a UK-developed autonomous product. “The reality is that autonomous cars are still many years from widespread adoption. However, the technologies that we’ve already developed can be used in an industrial logistics setting and will quickly scale to many other similar contexts where reducing cost and increasing safety are critical factors in profitable operations.”
Additional businesses and institutions within the consortium include: Sunderland City Council, Newcastle University, Vantec, Coventry University, Connected Places Catapult, The North East Automotive Alliance and Perform Green.