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Groupe PSA and EasyMile test autonomous tow tractor

Groupe PSA is trialling a TractEasy autonomous industrial tow tractor to automate part of its Sochaux plant.

TractEasy is a driverless tow tractor with a maximum towing capacity of 25 tonnes and the ability to drive among other vehicles at speeds of up to 25 km/h.

In Sochaux, the TractEasy drives up to 15km/h – the current speed limit at the facility – on a 3 km circuit and makes round trips between the supplier industrial park and the assembly shop.

Following the initial trials successfully conducted with the vehicle last May, a “connected” road will be built this autumn to take testing a step further.

It will enable TractEasy to communicate more effectively with road infrastructure, such as traffic lights, doors and level crossing to optimise the logistic loop within the traffic.

Following this step, the plant plans to operate two autonomous tow tractors in the first quarter of 2019. They will operate in shifts on a 24/7 basis to deliver parts from the supplier industrial park to the Peugeot 3008 assembly line.

Ultimately, they would be able to deliver all of the parts used to build the Peugeot 308 and 3008, including the bumpers, tailgate and consoles.

A world first in the manufacturing industry, this technology is one illustration of the “4.0 solutions” that the Sochaux plant has decided to adopt ahead of schedule in its Sochaux 2022 future’s plant project.

The Sochaux plant offers a wide variety of real-life test scenarios, with rail lines, intersections, traffic lights and one-way roads. The solution set up on this test circuit and the adjustments it requires can be easily transposed to other circuits and other locations.

Testing is being conducted in cooperation with EasyMile as part of Groupe PSA’s Business Lab programme. The Business Lab is designed to detect, test and transform opportunities into new activities for Groupe PSA, including outside its core automotive market, in response to rapid growth in new ways of using cars.