Plus (formerly Plus.ai), a specialist in self-driving truck technology, has announced a new initiative with engine manufacturer Cummins to develop the industry’s first driver-in, supervised autonomous trucks powered by natural gas.
The compressed natural gas engines provided by Cummins have been certified to near zero emissions, reducing smog-forming emissions by 90 percent compared to current EPA standards for nitrogen oxide air pollutants. Furthermore, trucks powered by Cummins and integrated with the Plus autonomous driving system are more fuel efficient due to Plus’s AI-enabled fuel optimization algorithms and Cummins powertrain features. This revolutionary combination will bring to market natural gas supervised autonomous trucks in 2022 and provide fleets an evolutionary path to quickly meet their emissions-reduction and corporate sustainability goals.
The Plus and Cummins teams will begin work on the new initiative immediately. This project is an extension of an ongoing collaboration to develop fuel-efficient autonomous trucks. Cummins will contribute its world-class engineering expertise and a suite of advanced features to seamlessly integrate its natural gas powertrain with Plus’s supervised autonomous driving system, PlusDrive.
“Sustainable transportation is good for business and for humankind. This is an extraordinary collaboration that brings together two excellent engineering teams to create an innovative, production- ready solution that will have tremendous business and environmental impact. Working with Cummins on this truly meaningful product is a natural extension of our long-standing partnership,” said Shawn Kerrigan, COO and Co-founder, Plus.
“Integrating Cummins’ state-of-the-art natural gas-powered engines into Plus’s industry-leading supervised autonomous trucks enables a new kind of transportation solution and offers customers even greater choices to meet their emissions goals. Cummins engines can power nearly every type of vehicle and application globally, so the integration of our Natural Gas powertrains for autonomous driving applications is a logical next step to provide customers with solutions that align with their specific business requirements,” said J. Michael Taylor, General Manager, Global Powertrain Integration, Cummins, Inc.
Plus will begin mass production of its PlusDrive system this summer, with plans to deploy the supervised autonomous trucking system globally across the U.S., China, Europe and other parts of Asia. The PlusDrive solution is being piloted by some of the largest truck fleets in the world, and have demonstrated the key benefits of improved safety, reduced fuel costs, enhanced driver comfort, and reduced carbon emissions.