Plus (formerly Plus.ai), a provider of self-driving truck technology that recently disclosed its proposed business combination with Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V (NASDAQ: HCIC), announced today that it will collaborate with Teledyne FLIR, LLC 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 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. While 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. These 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 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.