After two years of extensive trials, Australian autonomous vehicle (AV) manufacturer Applied EV has developed the first self-driving cabinless commercial vehicle tested on the streets of Europe, alongside its UK-based partner Oxbotica.
Built and developed in Australia, the Applied EV vehicle Blanc Robot is a modular transport platform that can be configured for specific applications, such as delivery or industrial logistics. It carries an exclusive centralised software and control system named BackBone that transforms any car into a software-defined vehicle.
Referred to as ‘the smartphone of autonomous vehicles’, Applied EV’s pioneering technology was chosen for its unique capabilities by Oxbotica and deployed on the streets of Oxford in the UK with no onboard driver.
Melbourne-based Applied EV founder and CEO Julian Broadbent says the successful collaboration with Oxbotica accelerates the commercialisation and application of AV technology.
“This exciting development positions Australian developed innovations at the heart of the sector and the forefront of delivering AV technology on the streets of Europe,” he said.
“We’re excited to see how this world-class product will continue to support the market needs. This is a historic moment for the automotive industry.”
The system architecture behind the Blanc Robot has been designed by Oxbotica, a global leader in driverless vehicle software. It has been developed through off-road and on-road operations across the UK, Europe and North America.
“The Blanc Robot – a zero-occupancy, all-electric, fully autonomous prototype – is exactly the new-type vehicle that will form the mainstay of the transportation industry for decades to come,” Oxbotica Founder and CTO Paul Newman said.
“Our partnership with Applied EV was fundamental in developing a vehicle that could achieve this milestone. Oxbotica is changing the way people and goods move, and the Blanc Robot is part of this journey.”
Founded in 2014 by Oxford professors Newman and Ingmar Posner, the Oxbotica team built software for real-world application, drawing on physics, robotics, maths and AI principles. It aims to create an eco-system that supports adopting autonomous vehicles, with its software being deployed across multiple sectors.
In addition to the Oxbotica partnership, Applied EV is developing solutions based on its BackBone and Blanc Robot technologies in Asia and the US.
Applied EV was established in 2015 and combines heritage in automotive innovation with software development and deep robotics capability, recognising the need to improve safer, cleaner, more efficient transport solutions.
The business develops safety-rated, autonomous-ready, digital control systems and modular vehicle platforms. Its driverless, efficient transport solutions are built for the automotive and industrial sectors, with multiple practical applications, including last-mile delivery and industrial logistics.
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