Volvo’s autonomous truck begins first real-world test

Completely driverless truck will haul goods short distance between port and logistics centre in Sweden

Volvo's Vera autonomous truck [Credit Volvo Trucks]

Volvo Trucks' electric, connected and autonomous vehicle Vera will form part of an integrated solution to transport goods from a logistics centre to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden. The assignment is a result of a new collaboration between Volvo Trucks and the ferry and logistics company, DFDS

In a sign of where completely autonomous trucks will initially be deployed and tested, Volvo Trucks’ autonomous and electric vehicle Vera is to transport goods in a connected and repetitive flow from a logistics centre to a port terminal.

The assignment is to move containers from the DFDS logistics centre in Gothenburg to an APM terminal in the port according to needed capacity.

The autonomous system is monitored by an operator in a control tower who is also responsible for the transport. The solution is suited for repetitive flows with a maximum speed of 40 km/h.

Volvo said in a press release that the aim is to implement a connected system consisting of several Vera vehicles monitored by a control tower. The purpose is to enable a seamless and constant flow responsive to demand.

In 2018, Volvo Trucks presented its first electric, connected and autonomous solution, designed for repetitive assignments in logistics centres, factories and ports.

The autonomous transport solution will need to be further developed in terms of technology, operations management and infrastructure adaptations, before it can be fully operational. It will also have to cross the hurdle of safety precautions and regulation.

"Now we have the opportunity to implement Vera in an ideal setting and further develop her potential for other similar operations," says Mikael Karlsson, Vice President Autonomous Solutions at Volvo Trucks.

"We want to be at the forefront of connected, autonomous transportation. This collaboration will help us develop an efficient, flexible and sustainable long-term solution for receiving autonomous vehicles arriving at our gates, benefitting our customers, the environment and our business," says Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS.

"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. 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," adds Mikael Karlsson.

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