Driverless Truck Company to Test in Minnesota’s “Extreme Winter Conditions”
Minneapolis, MN – A California-based autonomous trucking company is partnering with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to test its self-driving technology in winter conditions.
Cupertino, CA-based Plus.ai says it is partnering with MnDOT to test its driverless technology on MnDOT’s MnROAD cold-weather pavement testing facility.
The company says the partnership is an effort to test the performance of its self-driving trucks in the “toughest winter conditions, in order to inform public policy discussions.”
The testing will begin with mapping the MnROAD closed test track, followed by rigorous performance testing of Plus.ai’s self-driving trucks, a statement from the company says.
In a statement on Tuesday, Shawn Kerrigan, COO and co-founder of Plus.ai, said he was excited to “test and harden our autonomous trucks for extreme weather.”
“Commercializing Plus.ai’s self-driving trucks requires preparing them to drive in all climates, including the toughest winter road conditions that Minnesota experiences,” said Kerrigan.
Minnesota regulators also expressed optimism about the potential benefits and insights that will be gained during the testing.
“As automation and emerging transportation technology evolve, the MnDOT understands how critical it is to collaboratively share information and expertise with partners like Plus.ai,” Kristin White, executive director of MnDOT’s Office of Connected and Automated Vehicles.
She continued, “Learning how these vehicles operate in winter weather helps Minnesota advance safety innovation for everyone in the transportation system.”
For these winter weather tests, Plus.ai will equip Navistar and Paccar semi-trucks with its Level 4 autonomous driving technology.
A human driver will be on-board to monitor the truck and can intervene if needed.
Plus.ai has previously tested its vehicles on both closed tracks and public roads in more than a dozen U.S. states, as well as numerous locations in China, Kerrigan said.
The company says it is currently working with some of the leading truck manufacturers, largest shippers, and top fleet operators in the U.S. and China.