A consortium, which includes supermarket Asda and HVS, has been awarded a £6.6m government grant to develop a self-driving, hydrogen-powered truck.
The Hub2Hub consortium is led by Glasgow-based autonomous hydrogen truck maker HVS (Hydrogen Vehicle Systems). Asda will be a logistics partner to help test the vehicle.
Jawad Khursheed, CEO, HVS, said: “We are engineering the world’s first autonomous hydrogen-electric powered HGV to demonstrate hub-to-hub logistics to a leading retailer, Asda, to elevate public perception, showcasing the potential autonomy can deliver thanks to increased safety and fuel savings, and develop new business models.”
Hub2Hub will use the grant funding to continue developing two prototype autonomous HGV tractor units.
The consortium, which also includes the British self-driving tech firm Fusion Processing, plans to initiate trials of the heavy-duty vehicle in 2024.
In the future, HVS plans to create a second version of its hydrogen truck that is cab-less and controllable from a distance.
HVS’s grant comes as part of an £81 government investment into seven self-driving projects, including a driverless shuttle in Belfast. Before the government grant, HVS had raised £6.6m in funding.
Grant Shapps, business secretary, said: “In just a few years’ time, the business of self-driving vehicles could add tens of billions to our economy and create tens of thousands of jobs across the UK. This is a massive opportunity to drive forward our priority to grow the economy, which we are determined to seize.”
The government has previously said that autonomous vehicles could be on UK roads as soon as 2025.
This month, fellow UK hydrogen truck maker Tevva secured approval for mass production of electric vehicles in its Tilbury facility to commence.
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