The streets of the UK could see a huge spike in self-driving delivery vans next year. Charge, a company showcased at the Wired 2016 conference in London, debuted a vehicle that not only boasts autonomous driving. It boasts an assembly time of fewer than four hours.
“We find trucks today totally unacceptable. Loud, pollutive and unfriendly. This has to change. At Charge we are making trucks the way they should be,” said Denis Sverdlov, CEO of Charge.
The vehicles use "ultra-lightweight composite materials" to reduce the vehicle's overall weight. This allowed Charge to reduce operating costs by over 50 percent, according to the company.
The company also claims the trucks produce zero-emission for the first 100 miles of travel. Longer journeys require the battery to be topped up, extending its range to 500 miles.
The trucks range from 3.5 tons to 26 tons. While exact details of the assembly are under wraps, the company does say modular parts allow 10 men in two shifts a day to assemble 10,000 trucks a year.
The first factory will open in 2017 in Oxfordshire near the current headquarters. This isn't the first driver-less van to hit the streets. The Otto deliver system successfully traveled 120 miles for a Budweiser delivery last month in the United States.
However, the truck marks one of several recent milestones in driverless vehicle technology in the UK. Last month, self-driving cars finally hit London streets with the premier of the Lutz Pathfinder Pod.
The UK greenlighted testing of driverless pods and cars in February 2015. The decision came after an extensive six-month review of an ability to sustain autonomous vehicles. The government also announced they'd want to put in place actual legislation about driverless cars by 2017 with the anticipation of more testing beforehand.
The company already has formal partnerships. Formula E used a Charge prototype to deliver the racing machine to the track.