Nikola Corporation a global leader in zero-emissions transportation and energy supply and infrastructure solutions,announced that it has selected PlusDrive, the next generation safety system developed by Plus, for the Nikola Tre battery-electric vehicle (BEV) and the hydrogen electric vehicle in the U.S. The first factory-installed Nikola Tre BEVs and hydrogen electric vehicles that will incorporate enhanced driver assistance features powered by PlusDrive will be available by the end of 2024.
Designed for drivers by drivers, PlusDrive offers unmatched safety, fuel efficiency, and driver comfort features. PlusDrive elevates the role of the professional driver to a pilot who supervises the system to drive on the highway. Its capabilities go far beyond basic driver assistance capabilities such as lane keeping and automatic emergency brakes. PlusDrive also handles everything from staying centered in the lane, lane changes, merges, stop-and-go traffic, and nudging, while the driver remains alert and attentive. New driving features are continuously added over-the-air without any additional truck downtime.
Together with Nikola’s base technology, PlusDrive will moderate and predict the optimal and safest speed, while also taking full advantage of regenerative braking in traffic and slowing conditions. The vehicle is expected to keep the best position within the lane and account for other large vehicles and emergency vehicles. With PlusDrive, the Nikola Tre BEVs and hydrogen electric vehicles will come with best-in-class incident detection capabilities via the multiple cameras to be used together with short-range radar, and LiDAR. The advanced sensor suite will assist the driver to safely interact with other drivers and provide additional protection for liability mitigation.
When not in use on the highway, the Nikola Tre BEV and hydrogen electric vehicles will maintain the ability to detect obstacles and traffic in the blind spots. Other traffic, including motorcycles and pedestrians, will continue to be highlighted to provide drivers with their proximity information. The system will work in all traffic conditions, including loading docks. Pedestrian safety around the trucks is especially important as much quieter zero-emissions vehicles become a mainstay. The system will highlight pedestrians around the vehicle to help ensure safety of typical operations including loading and unloading, inspections, and charging and fueling. Safe operation during high-power charging and hydrogen fueling will also be supplemented with detection and recording features.
Multiple fleets including PGT Trucking and Christenson Transportation have agreed to pilot the initial Nikola PlusDrive-enabled trucks which will be available in late 2023. Given the overwhelming fleet interest in the system, Nikola is establishing an Enhanced Driver Assistance Customer Council to collaborate with fleets and Plus to continue refining the system. Nikola will be demonstrating the PlusDrive-powered Nikola Tre BEV during ride alongs at the Technology and Maintenance Council Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition in Orlando from February 27 through March 1, 2023.