Listen to this article
pepper and driveblocks, two mobility companies, are collaborating on the future of the commercial vehicle industry. In the future, the team aims for it to be possible to equip electrified trucks with automated and autonomous driving functions using a manufacturer-independent retrofit solution consisting of sensors, computers and the associated software. The solution will be tested in real-world settings by a pilot customer beginning in summer 2023.
driveblocks is a start-up located in Garching, Germany near Munich. The company was co-founded by Alexander Wischnewski, who was the team leader for the 2021 Indy Autonomous Challenge race team TUM Autonomous Motorsports, which won the inaugural IAC race event at the Indianapolis Raceway. The driveblocks solution is designed to enable the safe, fast and cost-efficient automation of a variety of applications – in mining, in container terminals and on the highway.
pepper is a pioneer in the conversion of electric commercial vehicles. With this experience and understanding, the company is in charge of integrating the autonomy hardware into the vehicle platform, as well as the automation software interfaces to the high-performance computer. driveblocks is in charge of the driving algorithms, and its software solution, which is modular and scalable, will be built into the prototype.
The goal is to build a solution that is sustainable and efficient while improving the safe operation of truck fleets. Pepper wants to give fleet operators an extra tool to make their fleets free of pollution, cost-effective and ready for the future.
With driveblocks’ new technology, automated trucks can be used on certain routes between two logistics centers (called “hub-to-hub traffic”) and at depots. The driverless system helps to improve transportation and logistics and cut costs.
Alexander Wischnewski, CTO and co-founder of driveblocks, sees the cooperation as an important milestone: “Working with pepper allows us to test the driveblocks software platform under real-world conditions and gather important insights into the resulting savings and potential for optimization.”
“In driveblocks, we have a highly innovative partner on our side. Automated driving plays to its strengths in the transportation industry in particular – in terms of process optimization, cost savings, and a new level of driving and traffic safety in the interaction between humans and machines. For us, the joint project is the logical further development of our emission-free drive systems and one of the most exciting research and development projects currently underway,” explains Dr. Matthias Kerler, CTO pepper motion GmbH.