Autonomous vehicle manufacturer Arrival (NASDAQ: ARVL) announced on Monday a successful test run of its automated driving system (ADS) at a fully functioning parcel facility. It’s the first time one of its Arrival Vans has driven around a facility without a driver in tow, performing all daily operations of a commercial fleet driver. The driverless vehicles are intended to boost both safety and efficiency in depots.
The Arrival Van is the most recent addition to the company’s Robopilot project, intended to increase market knowledge, functionality and public perception of its ADS. Other iterations of the project, including the Arrival Bus and the Arrival Car, can be rolled out using the same technology as the Arrival Van.
“At Arrival, we are building supplementary technologies that will help drivers. 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,” said Max Kumskoy, head of advanced driver assistance and automated driving systems.
“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.”
Arrival already has made inroads with some major players, including Uber and the United Parcel Service, to deploy its fleet of robotic helpers, but the company continues to tinker with its technology through Robopilot.
Part-funded by Innovate UK and the Centre for Connected Autonomous Vehicles, the program has given Arrival more freedom to test its ADS, which are powered by in-house algorithms and state-of-the-art hardware, as it develops a scalable commercial ADS that relies on computer vision. The idea behind using computers is to eliminate the need for expensive sensing technologies, HD maps and high-precision GPS.
“Arrival is playing a critical role in the UK innovation and transport sector by bringing together organizations from across technologies, skills, and services. It’s brilliant to see the projects being developed here picked up and exported around the world.” said Minister for Investment Lord Gerry Grimstone.
After successful completion of the Arrival Van’s demonstration at the parcel depot, the company will next test its treads on public roads in the United Kingdom. And while much of Arrival’s operations are centered in England, their Vans will be coming to the U.S. The company has set up two microfactories in North and South Carolina, with more to come.