Arrival's delivery van demos its autonomous chops at a UK parcel depot
UK startup Arrival has inched closer to what it sees as the future of safer, cleaner urban deliveries, carrying out a fully autonomous demonstration at a local parcel depot for the first time. The exercise was billed as a successful one and, after validating its self-driving technology in this controlled environment, Arrival says it paves the way for testing of these systems to begin on UK public roads.
Alongside its electric van, electric bus and electric ride-hailing car it is building with Uber, Arrival is also developing its own Automated Driving System with funding from the UK government's Robopilot program. This is aimed at accelerating the future of autonomous driving systems, and Arrival's take on the technology eschews expensive sensor technologies in favor of a cheaper system made up of computer vision, hardware and purpose-made algorithms.
Its first port of call in demonstrating its work so far was a fully functioning parcel depot in the UK. In a first for the company, an Arrival Van fitted with the Automated Driving System successfully maneuvered around the facility without a human driver onboard, autonomously completing all tasks that would normally be carried out by a human operator.
“At Arrival, we are building supplementary technologies that will help drivers," says Max Kumskoy, Head of Advanced Driver Assistance and Automated Driving Systems at Arrival. "Depot maneuvers are the most accident-prone parts of a worker’s shift and with our technology, we hope to introduce greater safety by removing human driving errors happening in confined environments. We are starting with a fixed controlled environment in the depot, where we are truly able to test and validate our technology. We can then understand how it will operate on public roads, in our vehicles, and how it can be implemented worldwide.”
As part of its participation in the Robopilot project, Arrival plans to demonstrate SAE Level 4 autonomous capabilities over a 10-mile (16-km) route on mixed public roads. After developing and demonstrating its autonomous driving system on its delivery vans, it then plans to adapt it for use on trucks and buses.
“Arrival is playing a critical role in the UK innovation and transport sector by bringing together organizations from across technologies, skills, and services," says UK Minister of Investment, Lord Grimstone. "It’s brilliant to see the projects being developed here picked up and exported around the world.”