Volvo reveals fully electric, autonomous future transport solution

by Truck News

DUBLIN, Va. — Volvo Trucks has unveiled today that it is developing a line of autonomous electric commercial vehicles that it says can contribute to more efficient, safer and cleaner transportation.

According to Volvo, the long-term goal is to offer companies that need continuous transport services between fixed hubs a complement to today’s offerings. 

“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 new solutions. In order to secure a smoothly functioning goods flow system we also need to exploit existing infrastructure better than currently. The transport system we are developing can be an important complement to today’s solutions and can help meet many of the challenges faced by society, transport companies and transport buyers,” said Claes Nilsson, president Volvo Trucks.

The autonomous electric vehicle line is intended to be used for regular and repetitive tasks characterised by relatively short distances, large volumes of goods and high delivery precision. Transports 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 of day or night. The solution utilises existing road infrastructure and load carriers, making it easier to recoup costs and allowing for integration with existing operations,” added Mikael Karlsson, vice-president Autonomous Solutions.

Volvo explained 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, that are designed to locate their current position to within centimetres, monitor in detail and analyse what is happening with other road users, and then respond with high accuracy.

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    • Most likely inspection will take place every time the vehicle enters or leaves a hub.

      The bigger issue would be with underway mechanical issues, and the determining factor of the vehicle to keep driving or to pull over—and more so, if an autonomous vehicle could safely pull over in light of variable geography/roadside space.