Capital Equipment News

Volvo Trucks presented a new transport solution comprising autonomous electric commercial vehicles which contribute to a much more efficient, safer and cleaner transportation solution. The long-term goal is to offer companies that need continuous transport services between fixed hubs a complement today’s offerings.

Growing world population and increasing urbanisation are leading to significant challenges to solve environmental issues such as congestion, pollution and noise. Rising consumption, fast growth of e-commerce and widespread shortage of drivers are putting higher demands on efficient transport solutions.

Volvo Trucks future transport solution

“The full potential of the transport industry is yet to be seen. Everything suggests that the global need for transportation will continue to significantly increase in the coming decade. If we are to meet this demand in a sustainable and efficient way, we must find innovative solutions,” says Claes Nilsson, President of Volvo Trucks.

Volvo Trucks’ future transport solution is intended to be used for regular and repetitive tasks characterised by relatively short distances, large volumes of goods and high delivery precision. Transport between logistic hubs are typical examples, but additional use cases can also be applicable.

“Our system can be seen as an extension of the advanced logistics solutions that many industries already apply today. Since we use autonomous vehicles with no exhaust emissions and low noise, their operation can take place at any time whether day or night. The solution employs existing road infrastructure and load carriers, making it easier to recoup costs, thus allowing for integration with existing operations,” explains Mikael Karlsson, vice-president Autonomous Solutions.

The operation is handled by autonomous electric vehicles linked to a cloud service and a transport control centre. The vehicles are equipped with sophisticated systems for autonomous driving. They are designed to locate their current position within centimetres, monitor in detail, analyse what is happening with other road users, and then respond with high accuracy.

The transport control centre 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 several other parameters. As with an industrial production process, speed and progress are tailored to avoid unnecessary waiting and to increase delivery precision. In this way, it will be possible to minimise waste in the form of buffer stocks and increase availability. Vehicles that operate on the same route cooperate to create optimal flow.

In the near future, Volvo Trucks’ transport solution will be further developed together with select customers in prioritised applications.

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