Teledyne FLIR to Provide Cameras for Self-Driving Truck Leader

By Joel Davies -

Plus (formerly, a global provider of self-driving truck technology announced that it will collaborate with Teledyne FLIR on a development project to explore the addition of thermal cameras to the sensor stack used with Plus’s Level 4 autonomous driving technology.

Plus is a leader in autonomous driving technology for long-haul trucking, headquartered in Silicon Valley. Founded in 2016, the company is developing low-cost, high-performance full-stack Level 4 autonomous driving technology to make long-haul trucking safer, more efficient, and more sustainable. Plus is also collaborating with leading truck manufacturers, fleets, and ecosystem partners to drive the development of decarbonization transportation solutions including autonomous trucks powered by natural gas.

On May 7, 2021, Plus and Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. entered into a definitive business combination agreement. Upon the closing of the proposed business combination, Plus will be a publicly-traded company, and its common stock is expected to trade on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “PLAV”.

“We are excited to be working with the team at Plus as they explore the integration of thermal cameras into their current sensor suite, creating even safer autonomous commercial vehicles”, said Paul Clayton, General Manager of Components, Industrial Technologies Segment at Teledyne FLIR. “By combining thermal imaging with visible light cameras, lidar, and radar, Plus can create more comprehensive and redundant systems, allowing these vehicles to more readily detect and classify objects and humans on the road to help save lives”.

Paul Clayton, General Manager of Components, Industrial Technologies Segment at Teledyne FLIR.

Plus takes a multi-modal sensor approach and currently uses lidar, cameras, and radar to provide trucks powered by its autonomous driving technology with a 360-degree view around the vehicle. Whilst the current system offers improved safety compared to a traditional truck, thermal cameras add another layer of perception that is particularly useful for heavy trucks that traverse the country in low-visibility and high-contrast conditions. The conditions can include nighttime, shadows, dusk, or sunrise; direct sun or headlight glare; and challenging scenarios when fog or smoke is present due to environmental conditions.

Depending on the configuration, thermal cameras can detect and classify pedestrians at distances of up to 250 meters (>820 feet), which is much farther than the reach of typical headlights. They can also provide another layer of perception around the vehicle, particularly helpful when the vehicle is backing up or when being overtaken by an ensuing vehicle.

“You can never be too safe when it comes to equipment you put on a heavy truck. Combining thermal cameras with our other sensors would bring an additional margin of safety to our system. Our research pilot will not only assess the technical performance but also consider cost and scale requirements in order to potentially add this to our product roadmap”, said Tim Daly, Chief Architect of Plus.

You can find more information about the collaboration between Teledyne FLIR and Plus on the companies respective websites.

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