The Autonomist

Volvo’s autonomous truck get its first assignment

Volvo Truck’s autonomous vehicle Vera is set to begin its first real-world assignment: transporting goods between a logistics centre and the Swedish port of Gothenburg.

Under an arrangement with logistics giant DFDS, Vera will move containers from its logistics centre in Gothenburg to an APM terminals container terminal according to needed capacity.

The vehicle – which is suited to repetitive flows such as this task – is limited to a maximum speed of 25 mph.

Automated gates have been installed at the terminals to smooth Vera’s journey, and the operation is monitored by a manager in a control tower who is also responsible for the transport.

The Vera vehicles have no driver’s cab, and are entirely electric with low noise levels. The driveline and battery pack are of the same type that are used in Volvo Trucks’ electric trucks.

a robot track on a dock with a ship in the sunset

Each vehicle – which is fitted with lidar, cameras and radar sensors to detect its surroundings – is also connected to a control centre which continuously monitors the progress of the transport and keeps an accurate watch of each vehicle’s position, the batteries’ charge, load content, service requirements and a number of other parameters.

‘Autonomous transports with low noise levels and zero exhaust emissions have an important role to play in the future of logistics, and will benefit both business and society’ said Mikael Karlsson, vice president autonomous solutions at Volvo Trucks.

‘We see this collaboration as an important start and want to drive progress in this area. Vera may have a speed limit, but we don’t. Testing has already started and we intend to implement the solution within the coming years’.

By Ray Molony, Technology Editor

Friday 21 June 2019