The onboarding of Terberg as a partner and the receipt of a retrofitted electric tractor unit is a huge success for 5G CAL and its mission to be the first project of its kind in the UK to deliver Zero Emission Automated Logistics.

The next step in the ambitious 5G Connected and Automated Logistics (CAL) project sees the onboarding of new project partner Terberg and next generation 5G infrastructure.

The 5G CAL project was awarded a share of £30 million through 5G Create, an open competition combining British creativity with innovative new uses for 5G as part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s £200 million 5G Testbeds and Trials programme (5GTT).

The government is pushing ahead with its plans to unlock new economic benefits and productivity boosts from 5G while commercial rollout continues at pace. It has now funded 24 5G testbeds across the UK, which have trialled almost 70 different 5G technologies, products and applications.

The £30 million package consists of £16.4 million from the government match-funded by organisations ranging from large tech and telecoms companies to SMEs and local authorities.

New project partner, Terberg, is bringing a new dimension to the £4.9m 5G CAL project announced in 2020, as it provides the HGV that will be retrofitted with autonomous technology.

Driven by an ambition to be one of the first manufacturers to bring teleoperated HGVs to market, and allowing these to be controlled remotely, Terberg is all set to revolutionise the sector in the home of advanced manufacturing, Sunderland.

The Terberg YT202 (EV Model) – a fully electric yard tractor designed for moving trailers in distribution centres, transport depots and container terminals – was procured by the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) for the 5G CAL project. It has been retrofitted by StreetDrone with drive by wire components and a myriad of sensors and cameras (both standard and LiDAR).

Following further tests and a rigorous simulation study, the autonomous and teleoperation trials of the Terberg YT202 can now take place. This will involve scaling up the original trial route to incorporate numerous, typical driving challenges such as roundabouts, security gates, traffic lights, bridges and junctions – all key tests to accelerate the development of an advanced autonomous system and to help scale deployment.

Whilst recently attending Cenex, the UK’s premier low carbon vehicle event, the Sunderland’s 5G CAL project team showcased the new Terberg YT202. The fully electric drive means the vehicle is economical to operate and does not lead to emissions at the point of use, plus the electric motor is quieter and requires much less maintenance than a diesel engine.

Alisdair Couper, Managing Director at Terberg DTS UK, said: “Having the vision to look to the future and to what it may offer is allowing us to leverage the benefits that smart technology can bring to the Sunderland region and further afield. The 5G Cal project will become a measuring point for many a future development in this sector.”

Sunderland Council’s Chief Executive, Patrick Melia, said: “5G CAL’s partnership with Terberg is yet another encouraging milestone in the Sunderland Our Smart City success story and in particular, our pioneering 5G CAL project.

“We look forward to working closely with Alisdair and his team, alongside other 5G CAL project partners, to push boundaries, generate efficiencies and implement these learnings widely to benefit a wide range of businesses.”

Paul Butler, CEO of the North East Automotive Alliance, added: “This is a significant step towards an autonomous supply chain. First this will allow for such a vehicle to be teleoperated remotely, paving the way for autonomous supply chains on a much larger scale. This has huge implications across a number of sectors in addition to automotive manufacturers, creating operational efficiencies and improving productivity.”

Terberg DTS (UK) Ltd is a UK subsidiary of the Royal Terberg Group. It is the market leading supplier of specialist vehicles, equipment and support to the UK logistics, distribution, port, industrial, aviation, fire and rescue, road and rail applications. Terberg is now actively working with partners in the teleoperation space to create a production model that is enabled for teleoperation as standard.