Automotive

Volvo Trucks' cabin-less self-driving hauler takes on its first job

Volvo Trucks' cabin-less self-...
Volvo Trucks' Vera is set to go to work moving containers around a logistics center in Sweden
Volvo Trucks' Vera is set to go to work moving containers around a logistics center in Sweden
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What would truck cabins look like if they didn’t need to accommodate a human driver?
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What would truck cabins look like if they didn’t need to accommodate a human driver?
Volvo Trucks' Vera vehicle has received its first assignment
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Volvo Trucks' Vera vehicle has received its first assignment
The thinking is that one day fleets of connected Veras can scurry around ports, factories and other facilities with large loads on the back
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The thinking is that one day fleets of connected Veras can scurry around ports, factories and other facilities with large loads on the back
Volvo Trucks' Vera is set to go to work moving containers around a logistics center in Sweden
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Volvo Trucks' Vera is set to go to work moving containers around a logistics center in Sweden
Volvo Trucks' Vera is set to go to work moving containers around a logistics center in Sweden
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Volvo Trucks' Vera is set to go to work moving containers around a logistics center in Sweden
Revealed in September last year, Vera is powered by the same drivetrain and battery packs in Volvo’s electric trucks
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Revealed in September last year, Vera is powered by the same drivetrain and battery packs in Volvo’s electric trucks
The thinking is that one day fleets of connected Veras can scurry around ports, factories and other facilities with large loads on the back
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The thinking is that one day fleets of connected Veras can scurry around ports, factories and other facilities with large loads on the back

What would trucks look like if they didn't need to accommodate a human driver? Volvo Trucks' Vera vehicle is an exploration of this idea, doing away with the cabin entirely so it can more efficiently tow goods around ports and factories. 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.

Revealed in September last year, the autonomous Vera is powered by the same drivetrain and battery packs found in Volvo's electric trucks. It is, however, more electric sled than electric big rig, consisting of four-wheels and a low-profile body that can be latched onto by standard load carriers and trailers.

The thinking is that one day fleets of connected Veras can scurry around ports, factories and other facilities with large loads on the back. Communicating with one another via a control center over the cloud, this could optimize traffic flow, keep operations running smoothly and minimize waiting times.

The thinking is that one day fleets of connected Veras can scurry around ports, factories and other facilities with large loads on the back
The thinking is that one day fleets of connected Veras can scurry around ports, factories and other facilities with large loads on the back

And Volvo Trucks is now set to see how well this works in practice, with Vera receiving its first assignment towing containers from a logistics center in Gothenburg, Sweden, to a nearby port terminal for distribution around the world. The pilot is a collaboration with logistics company DFDS, and will involve short strips with speeds limited to 40 km/h (25 mph).

"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," says 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."

The video below provides an overview of Vera's first assignment.

Source: Volvo Trucks

Volvo Trucks – Autonomous vehicle Vera’s first assignment

8 comments
paul314
So how many skilled drivers won't they need as a result of this advance?
Grunchy
So where does the hitchhiker go? It looks like they didn't think this completely thru...
Nelson Hyde Chick
In 39 states the most common job is driver.
Jerome Morley Larson Sr eAIA
Big rigs are big to amortize the cost of the driver; without the driver, there is no need for a big rig.
piperTom
Luddism will never end. Do we really need a reminder that, just 100 years ago, thousands were involved in the use and care of horses -- the foundation of transport! Not so long ago, 98% of people were involved in farming. 98%!! Nearly all of them LOST their JOBs. It'd be difficult to describe to those people what everyone is doing today. You're running a technology collector web site? Explain that to ggreat grandma.
Trucklife1981
How many jobs are these trucks going to take these companies won’t have nobody to spend money without a job company trying to save money but won’t have nobody to buy products makes no senses
JagtygerII
I do not care if the so called experts say that an autonomous vehicle is safe on the road. I still say that they can be hacked or programmed badly to make them a hazard on all highways. And I will sue the first company who's autonomous vehicle hits my pickup into bankruptcy along with the company that made the vehicle in the first place. I don't mind a AI as a backup, but I will never trust an AI
Massimomm
Cool technology and not much impact on driving jobs. Legislative nightmares and needed changes in US infrastructure make on the road autonomous decades away. Large fleets will embrace this technology at their distribution points, but even these processes are lightening in our Amazon world.