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PlusDrive Safety Technology to be Added to Nikola Class 8 Trucks by 2024

The News: Zero emissions truck manufacturer Nikola is the first U.S. partner to include PlusDrive technology into its Class 8 trucks. The plan is for PlusDrive to be factory-installed into all Nikola Tre battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell trucks in the United States by the end of next year. Read the full Press Release.

PlusDrive Safety Technology to be Added to Nikola Class 8 Trucks by 2024

Analyst Take: PlusDrive is a Level 2+ autonomous driving system developed by Plus, a leading self-driving truck technology company. This is exciting news for the trucking industry, as it could potentially revolutionize the way goods are transported.

The Nikola Tre is a battery-electric truck that is currently being produced for the European market. It is designed for regional and urban distribution, and it can travel up to 400 km on a single charge. By adding PlusDrive technology to the Nikola Tre, the truck will be able to drive itself on highways and other controlled-access roads. This will reduce the need for human drivers, and it will also make the transportation of goods safer and more efficient.

The PlusDrive system is a governed application of Plus’s Level 4 autonomous driving technology. This means that the driver is in control at all times, but in certain situations, the driver can engage the system to assist with driving.

How the PlusDrive Technology Works

PlusDrive runs Level 2+  to help collect data and build upon itself. In terms of experience, PlusDrive compares it to turning the driver into a pilot who supervises the travel. In certain situations like driving on a highway, it can do things like stay centered in the lane, change lanes, merge, manage stop-and-go traffic, etc. It can predict optimal and safest speed and account for other large vehicles and even emergency vehicles. And, new features can be added automatically as they are developed, over the air, without any downtime for the vehicle itself.

Plus plans to reach driverless operation eventually, but reports show the company wants to log 8 billion miles, with safety drivers monitoring the tech, before that happens. Right now, PlusDrive is even ahead of Tesla in terms of getting their HAD functionality specced for this type of truck fleet. There’s no going back once these vehicles are successfully unleashed into the supply chain.

Currently, PGT Trucking and Christenson Transportation have already agreed to pilot the Nikola/PlusDrive-enabled trucks sometime in late 2023.

Long-term Outlook

As noted above, the big news here is what these types of partnerships can do for our environment and the logistics industry in the long-term. Right now, we know that Amazon is using PlusDrive tech in an undisclosed number of delivery trucks, which could be huge if the partnership goes well. We also know that European partner Iveco is already testing PlusDrive in Europe, making the impact global. I look forward to seeing how both Nikola and Plus continue to expand for the better.

Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Futurum Research as a whole.

Other insights from Futurum Research:

The Six Five On the Road with David Liu, CEO of Plus

Qualcomm Automotive Investor Day: Enabling the Car of the Future

Collaborating to Deliver a New Era of More in Automotive Innovation – The Six Five Summit Sessions

Image Credit: Plus

Author Information

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.

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