If a self-driving truck doesn’t need a driver then it doesn’t need a cabin.That is a logical development when trucks are employed in private environments like ports and factories. Volvo Trucks foresees a market for connected vehicles that can move around those and other facilities while carrying large loads.
The industry needs to find new ways to meet the increased demand for efficient transportation. The autonomous “Vera” shown here is one of those ways. The freewheeling four-wheeler has just been assigned its first task and will soon go to work delivering containers to a port terminal in Sweden. The pilot is a collaboration with logistics company DFDS and will involve short trips between a logistics hub and the port at speeds limited to 40 km/h (25 mph).
Volvo Trucks is one of the largest heavy-duty truck brands in the world. More than 95% are over 16 tonnes and they are sold and serviced in more than 130 countries. DFDS is a Danish international shipping and logistics company, the busiest of its kind in Northern Europe.
Vera is powered by the same drive train and battery packs found in Volvo’s regular electric trucks, however it is more like an electric sled than a big rig. It has four wheels and a low-profile body that can be latched onto by standard load carriers and trailers. Veras communicate with one another via a control centre over the cloud, thereby optimising traffic flow, keeping operations running smoothly and minimising waiting times.
- Matches upcoming private transportation needs
- Cost-effective, versatile operation
The author is freelance technology writer, Bob Emmerson.