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Level 4 autonomy on the way with Hyundai

The XCIENT Fuel Cell truck is equipped with Plus’s SuperDrive autonomous driving technology.

Hyundai Motor and autonomous driving software leader Plus have unveiled the first Level 4 autonomous Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric truck in the United States.

According to the classification used by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Level 4 refers to the self-driving level when the car can handle all operations autonomously, but is restricted to specific routes and has to have a human driver on standby to take over at any time. 

Currently, the USA has licensed autonomous vehicles for driving on general roads only up to level 3. In April 2024, regulators there gave drivers who enable Drive Pilot in 2024 Mercedes-Benz EQS and S-Class sedans the go ahead to drive without their eyes on the road.

Hyundai and Plus demonstrated their system at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, the largest advanced clean transportation technology and fleet event in North America. Hyundai’s XCIENT Fuel Cell truck is equipped with Plus SuperDrive Level 4 autonomous driving technology.

The Level 4 autonomous XCIENT Fuel Cell truck is undergoing initial autonomous driving assessments in the U.S., making it the first-ever Level 4 self-driving test on a Class 8 fuel cell electric truck to take place in the country. The collaboration seeks to show that autonomous hydrogen fuel cell trucks can help make trucking safer, more efficient, and more sustainable.

“We are excited to showcase our collaboration with Plus to test Level 4 autonomous driving technology with our Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell truck,” said Martin Zeilinger, Executive Vice President and Head of Commercial Vehicle Development at Hyundai. “Hyundai Motor has been driving the energy transition paradigm with our advanced fuel cell technologies. By adding autonomous capabilities to our world’s first mass-produced hydrogen-powered XCIENT Fuel Cell truck, Hyundai is looking forward to providing fleets and vehicle operators additional solutions that enhance road safety and freight efficiencies thanks to Plus’s industry-leading autonomous driving technology.”

First introduced in 2020, Hyundai Motor’s XCIENT Fuel Cell truck has conducted commercial operations in eight countries worldwide, establishing a successful track record of real-world applications and technological reliability.

At last year’s ACT Expo, Hyundai introduced XCIENT Fuel Cell tractor, the commercialized Class 8 6×4 fuel cell electric model, powered by two 90kW hydrogen fuel cell systems and a 350kW e-motor, providing a driving range of over 450 miles per charge even when fully loaded.

Plus’s SuperDrive™ solution is being deployed across the U.S., Europe, and Australia. The system uses a combination of cutting-edge sensors, including LiDAR, radar and cameras, to provide surround perception, planning, prediction and self-driving capabilities.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Hyundai Motor Company on this important initiative to create more sustainable and safe transportation options. A decarbonised future with autonomous hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks that also improve safety and efficiency is one that Plus is proud to support with our cutting-edge autonomous driving technology,” said Shawn Kerrigan, COO and Co-Founder at Plus.

Hyundai Motor and Plus have released a video highlighting their collaboration, which can be seen here:

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