On-highway autonomous truck demonstrations still require drivers to be at the ready, sitting behind the wheel. But Plus has pushed such tests a step further.
In a recent test of SAE Level 4 technology, it ran a truck without a safety driver, teleoperator, or anyone else at the controls. And it expects to pilot a fully driverless truck for dedicated environments as early as 2022.
The most recent demonstration was conducted in China’s Yangtze Delta economic center, where Plus had secured a special permit for the trip on the newly built Wufengshan highway.
According to the company, the truck drove safely and smoothly in typical highway traffic.
“The demo shows the safety, maturity, and functionality of our technology, and we are excited to continue to work closely with our suppliers, fleet customers, and OEM partners to further develop, test, and refine a driverless product for commercial deployment,” said Shawn Kerrigan, co-founder and Plus COO, in a related press release.
SAE Level 4 represents a high level of automation where a vehicle can perform all driving functions under certain conditions.
Mass production of its PlusDrive system, which would still require drivers in the cab, is projected to start in the third quarter of 2021.
Plus demonstrated its first Level 4 system at China’s Qingdao port in April 2018.