UPS started testing the Gaussin electric vehicles, already implemented with autonomous driving capability, to allow semi-trailers and containers moving on the grounds of UPS's advanced-technology London Hub.
As an initial step of the test, UPS will operate the vehicles with drivers in the cabs to evaluate the suitability and durability they generate. Later this year, UPS will progress to the next phase of operation, initiating autonomous driving operations.
Juan Perez, UPS chief information and engineering officer, has declared: "These tests are part of a major UPS effort to integrate electric vehicles throughout our global network. Gaussi's shifters will help cut our fuel costs and reduce emissions. We are also eager to test the shifters in autonomous driving mode. This is a great opportunity for us to evaluate technologies on our own property."
The new vehicles will have zero tailpipe emissions and are equipped with novel battery-swap technology, allowing the shifters to be operated day and night, as the discharged battery pack is immediately replaced by a fully charged one. Additionally, the vehicles are also equipped with numerous cameras, sensors and sophisticated algorithms to improve safety. These new technologies will improve efficiency and safety in UPS operations.
Carlton Rose, UPS president of global fleet maintenance and engineering, stated: "Testing these electric and autonomous-capable shifters is part of UPS's transformation strategy, which is enabled by technology and innovation. We continue to pursue and deploy the latest vehicle technology that has the potential to enhance our operational efficiency while taking an evolving approach in implementing autonomous vehicle technologies."
The collaboration between Gaussin and UPS Engineering teams had started in 2018 when they began working at the development of the new electric shifter vehicles. The Gaussin shifter is being tested in London, and it can move trailers, semi-trailers, and containers in both manual and autonomous mode.
Christophe Gaussin, Gaussin's chief executive officer, said: "This collaboration with UPS brought valuable insights to Gaussin engineering teams, and we are pleased to see the vehicle in live operations. Our shifters will save maintenance and energy costs. Our unique battery swap system will allow continuous operations and will contribute to UPS's operational efficiency and productivity increases."
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