Hyundai gears up to equip its fuel cell truck for autonomous driving

Together with its software partner Plus, Hyundai has presented an Xcient Fuel Cell equipped with technology for Level 4 automated driving, which is now undergoing tests in the USA.

Image: Hyundai

The special specimen of Hyundai’s Xcient Fuel Cell fuel cell truck stood in the spotlight at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Centre. The demonstrator has the Plus SuperDrive driving technology from software specialist Plus on board. According to Hyundai, the automated driving solution is already being used in the USA, Europe and Australia and utilises a combination of sensors – including LiDAR, radar and cameras – to create the conditions for autonomous driving. Level 4 is the term used to describe fully automated driving, in which humans no longer need to be ready to intervene. However, the autonomy of the vehicle at level 4 is still linked to certain conditions, such as a predefined route.

According to Hyundai, the Xcient specimen with Plus technology on board is the first fuel cell-powered heavy-duty truck with Level 4 autonomy to undergo testing in the US. “We are excited to showcase our collaboration with Plus to test Level 4 autonomous driving technology with our Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell truck,” commented Martin Zeilinger, Executive Vice President and Head of Commercial Vehicle Development at Hyundai. “By adding autonomous capabilities to our world’s first mass-produced hydrogen-powered XCIENT Fuel Cell truck, Hyundai is looking forward to providing fleets and vehicle operators additional solutions that enhance road safety and freight efficiencies thanks to Plus’s industry-leading autonomous driving technology.”

The Xcient was unveiled in 2020 and is now in commercial use in eight countries. The demo truck on display in Las Vegas is a US Class 8 6×4 tractor unit with two 90 kW fuel cell systems and a 350 kW electric motor on board. The manufacturer states a range of ‘over 450 miles’ – equivalent to 725 kilometres.


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