Technology  May 6, 2022

Lightning partners with tech company to produce autonomous vehicles

LOVELAND — Lightning eMotors Inc. (NYSE: ZEV), the Loveland-based manufacturer of light duty electric delivery vehicles and buses, has signed an agreement with Perrone Robotics Inc. to produce autonomous vehicles that some day may make up 30-40% of the Lightning fleet.

The two companies demonstrated the technology at the Lightning campus in south Loveland Friday with the Lightning board of directors on board.

Tim Reeser, CEO of Lightning, and Paul Perrone, CEO of the robotics company, both said that the technology is mature and the market is eager to embrace it, especially in the sweet spot of the transportation industry where Lightning specializes. 

Perrone said his company has signed contracts and bids to supply autonomous vehicles of the size that Lightning produces. The first vehicles resulting from the new partnership will be delivered this summer to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which required American-made vehicles and technology.

“Our focus is a geo-fence application,” Perrone said. Common usages will be on college or  industrial campuses, military installations, and downtown transit loops where a fixed route is used to haul passengers or cargo. 

Perrone retrofits Lightning vehicles with sensors, radar, lidar, cameras that can read traffic light colors, lane detection technology, and dual redundant GPS and cellular connections. The vehicle is able to see 360 degrees around it. It stops at stop signs, checks for vehicles coming at intersections, looks for pedestrians and stops if they’re in the vehicle path or if moving toward the path as they might at a crosswalk.

The company technology is suitable for all manner of vehicles — it’s been installed on everything from golf carts to three-story-high mining trucks, said Nick Pilipowskyj, vice president of business operations for Perrone. But the biggest demand right now is on light delivery vehicles and buses, which made Lightning an important partner.

Lightning and Perrone will demonstrate the technology to logistics company DHL International GmbH in a couple of weeks, Reeser said. Lightning already has an agreement with DHL to produce electric delivery trucks, and the lot around the Lightning factory on Friday contained dozens of yellow DHL trucks that soon will be delivered to New York.

“We both wanted to monetize the technology now,” Reeser said, and the partnership permits that to occur.

LOVELAND — Lightning eMotors Inc. (NYSE: ZEV), the Loveland-based manufacturer of light duty electric delivery vehicles and buses, has signed an agreement with Perrone Robotics Inc. to produce autonomous vehicles that some day may make up 30-40% of the Lightning fleet.

The two companies demonstrated the technology at the Lightning campus in south Loveland Friday with the Lightning board of directors on board.

Tim Reeser, CEO of Lightning, and Paul Perrone, CEO of the robotics company, both said that the technology is mature and the market is eager to embrace it, especially in the sweet spot of the transportation industry where Lightning…

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