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HYDROGEN FUEL CELLS HYZON targets autonomous hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles

Author / Editor: Luke James / Johanna Erbacher

HYZON Motors and Airdrivers have joined forces to develop and deliver a new concept commercial truck that’s both autonomous and powered entirely by hydrogen fuel cells—a clean energy source.

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A concept of a HYZON autonomous fuel cell port truck.
A concept of a HYZON autonomous fuel cell port truck.
(Source: HYZON Motors)

HYZON Motors, a global supplier of zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell powered commercial vehicles including buses, coaches, and heavy goods vehicles has joined forces with Airdrivers, an autonomous mobility solutions provider, to develop fully autonomous vehicles powered entirely by hydrogen fuel cells.

According to HYZON, the first trial of a fully autonomous hydrogen fuel-cell-powered vehicle is expected this year, with the first fleet of fully operational trucks expected by 2022. Initially, the focus will be on ports in the Asia-Pacific region as end-users.

Furthering decarbonisation efforts

In HYZON’s press release, CEO and co-founder Craig Knight points to decarbonisation efforts as the driver of the deal.

Over the past few years, we have seen many industrial operators start to take the importance of decarbonization seriously and make it a priority. “To this end, HYZON and its parent company Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies have been supplying hydrogen-powered vehicles and fuel-cell solutions to seaports and other industrial operators for many years,” he said.

The company’s partnership with Airdrivers will combine two of the most innovative aspects of mobility (zero-emissions fuel and autonomous driving) to create a safer, smarter, and cleaner solution for ports, the announcement reads. “This is the ultimate future for mobility; zero emissions with zero drivers.”

Industry operators have been automating parts of their operations, such as equipment and vehicles, for many years now. This allows them to achieve faster, safer, and more precise operations.

However, fossil fuels still dominate most of these operations, which is problematic for achieving carbon neutrality. That being said, with many industry operators now embracing the energy transition, there is a huge opportunity for solutions that combine automation and clean fuels to enter the market, and that’s exactly what HYZON and Airdrivers hope to do with their next-gen commercial vehicles.

The future of mobility?

Airdrivers, which is a UK-based firm, already has a history of delivering Artificial Intelligence (AI) backed autonomous mobility solutions to logistics operations, airports, and seaports around the world.

According to Airdrivers, the company’s Autonomous Intelligent Operating System (AIOS) IP is equipped with precise 3D mapping and localisation which allows it to excel even in busy environments. Its operating system also combines 3D perception with situational awareness to enable true autonomous driving.

Together with the company’s Autonomous Intelligent Fleet Operator (AIFO) management platform, the entire system provides operators with the visualization and tools they need to plan and schedule automated operations.

“Airdrivers is reshaping industrial mobility by bringing zero-emissions to autonomous driving. This agreement delivers sustainability and truly looks at the future of mobility,” said Dr Rafiq Swash, the founder and CEO of Airdrivers.

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