Vera tractor Volvo Trucks
Volvo Trucks is developing 'Vera,' a new type of transport solution for repetitive transports involving high precision between fixed hubs.

Volvo Trucks developing autonomous transport system

Futuristic-looking, zero-emission electric tractors designed for use with existing load carriers, trailers

Volvo Trucks recently unveiled a futuristic-looking new transport system it’s developing that consists of autonomous electric commercial vehicles designed to contribute to more efficient, safer and cleaner transportation.

The company said its long-term goal is to offer companies that need continuous transport services between fixed hubs a complement to current offerings.

“The full potential of the transport industry is yet to be seen,” said Claes Nilsson, president of Volvo Trucks. “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.”

Volvo Trucks said its future transport solution is intended to be used for regular and repetitive tasks characterized 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, the company said.

“Our system can be seen as an extension of the advanced logistics solutions that many industries already apply today,” said Mikael Karlsson, vice president of autonomous solutions. “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 utilizes existing road infrastructure and load carriers, making it easier to recoup costs and allowing for integration with existing operations.”

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

Volvo Trucks said its transport solution will be further developed together with selected customers in prioritized applications “in the near future.”

Highlights  

  • Volvo Trucks is developing a new type of transport solution for repetitive transports involving high precision between fixed hubs, as a complement to today's solutions.
  • The transport solution consists of autonomous, connected, electric vehicles and a transport control center.
  • The vehicles are used as tractor units and are compatible with existing load carriers/trailers.
  • The propulsion is entirely electric with zero exhaust emissions and low noise levels. The driveline and battery pack are of the same type that are used in Volvo Trucks' electric trucks.

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