PSA trials Sochaux autonomous technology

By Simon Warburton | 19 September 2018

PSA's Sochaux plant is trialling automated technology on a portion of its logistics platform, with the TractEasy autonomous industrial tow tractor able to navigate the plant environment without human intervention.

The collaboration between PSA and EasyMile has been forged as part of a project to automate a portion of the Sochaux plant's logistics platform.

TractEasy is a driverless tractor with a maximum towing capacity of 25t and the ability to drive among other vehicles at speeds of up to 25 km/h. It is developed by EasyMile in partnership with TLD.

In Sochaux the TractEasy drives at up to 15km/h – the current speed limit at the facility – on a 3km circuit and makes return trips between the supplier industrial park and the assembly shop.

Following initial trials with the vehicle last May, a 'connected' road will be built this autumn to take testing a step further. It will enable TractEasy to communicate more effectively with road infrastructure, such as traffic lights, doors and level crossing to optimise the logistic loop within the traffic.

Following the move, the plant plans to operate two autonomous tow tractors in the first quarter of 2019. They will operate in shifts on a 24/7 basis to deliver parts from the supplier industrial park to the Peugeot 3008 assembly line.

Ultimately, they would be able to deliver all of the parts used to build the Peugeot 308 and 3008, including bumpers, tailgates and consoles.

The technology is one illustration of the 4.0 solutions the factory has decided to adopt ahead of schedule in its Sochaux 2022 future's plant project.

The Sochaux plant offers a variety of real-life test scenarios, with rail lines, intersections, traffic lights and one-way roads.

The solution set up on this test circuit and the adjustments it requires can be transposed to other circuits and locations. PSA's Sochaux plant produces 2,100 vehicles per day for the 308, 3008 and Opel Grandland X line-ups.

Testing is being carried out with EasyMile as part of PSA's Business Lab programme. The Business Lab is designed to detect, test and transform opportunities into new activities for PSA, including outside its core automotive market, in response to rapid growth in new ways of using cars.