An electric Terberg trailer tractor, retrofitted with autonomous technology, is set to be remotely test driven as part of the £4.9m British government funded 5G Connected and Automated Logistics (CAL) trial.

The Terberg YT202, which is designed for moving trailers in distribution centres, transport depots and container terminals, has been retrofitted by StreetDrone with drive-by wire components and a myriad of sensors and cameras.

The autonomous and teleoperation trial will take place shortly in Sunderland, following rigorous tests and a simulation study. The aim is to establish if 5G-connected, autonomous trucks can safely distribute parts and assemblies across the Nissan car plant.

This will see the autonomous HGV face a series of driving challenges such as roundabouts, security gates, traffic lights, bridges and junctions, with the aim of developing large-scale autonomous supply chains. The use of 5G will enable the removal of the safety driver from the process.

The project is being run by a partnership which includes the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA), Sunderland City Council, Newcastle University, Nissan, Vantec, Coventry University, Connected Places Catapult, StreetDrone and Perform Green.

Terberg DTS UK has become the latest member of the 5G CAL project. Managing director Alisdair Couper, said, “Having the vision to look to the future and to what it may offer is allowing us to leverage the benefits that smart technology can bring to the Sunderland region and further afield. The 5G Cal project will become a measuring point for many a future development in this sector.”

Paul Butler, chief executive of the North East Automotive Alliance, added, “This is a significant step towards an autonomous supply chain. First this will allow for such a vehicle to be teleoperated remotely, paving the way for autonomous supply chains on a much larger scale.

“This has huge implications across a number of sectors in addition to automotive manufacturers, creating operational efficiencies and improving productivity.”