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Autonomous Suzuki Jimny BEV revealed in Aus

Melbourne-based Applied EV reveals self-driving electric Suzuki Jimny test fleet

19 Feb 2024

MELBOURNE-BASED autonomous technology company Applied EV has shared photos of its electric self-driving fleet of Suzuki Jimny SUVs.


Adopting the Jimny’s compact off-roader format could have applications in remote, difficult to access and potentially hazardous areas including for mining or search and rescue operations – perhaps even military.


The Jimny-based Generation 6 Blanc Robot is the result of an agreement between Suzuki and Applied EV made in September 2021 to co-develop the autonomous battery electric vehicles (BEV).


After the initial agreement was made, Suzuki went on to invest in the technology company in September 2022, before signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to finalise details of the partnership in March 2023 – just two months after Suzuki confirmed an electric Jimny would be among five BEVs planned for the European market and potentially beyond.


The two companies, according to a statement released by Suzuki, plan to bring the Blanc Robot into production and develop business models to expand the adoption of autonomous electric vehicles.


Applied EV co-founder and chief executive Julian Broadbent has described the alliance as mutually beneficial, bringing together Applied EV’s innovative technology with Suzuki’s experience in building high-quality vehicles.


“Suzuki is a highly respected automotive company, delivering millions of vehicles to customers globally. With over 100 years of expertise, strong values, and a huge market, we’re excited to see what the future will hold,” Mr Broadbent said when the MOU was announced.


Since the announcement, though, the development process has remained behind closed doors – until now.


Applied EV shared images of the Generation 6 Blanc Robot on LinkedIn, showcasing the fleet of engineering test vehicles it has been using for validation of its technology, but based on the images the adapted cars look no different to a regular Jimny.


“This fleet of engineering test vehicles has been integral in validating our technology, providing clarity on the breadth and depth of use cases it can serve, and established a number of global partnerships,” the company outlined in the LinkedIn post.


“Our next Generation 6 Blanc Robot – utilising Suzuki's Jimny platform and leveraging their manufacturing expertise. We are set to deliver our first production-ready autonomous vehicle architecture for mass market applications!” 


Despite the stock Jimny aesthetic, the Australian designed and manufactured technology onboard will be capable of running autonomously using Applied EV’s Digital Backbone central control system. 


The Digital Backbone system combines software and hardware to control all aspects of the autonomous vehicles and so far it has been proven in the firm’s autonomous EV Blanc Robots.


Existing Blanc Robot models are all-wheel drive with four-wheel steering and lack a passenger compartment.


They can have various body types fitted for a range of applications, from freight delivery pods to thermal imaging cameras but are not designed to carry people. 

GoAuto has requested further information from Applied EV, regarding launch plans and applications for the autonomous 6 Blanc Robot.

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