Volvo Trucks' new transport system includes autonomous electric commercial vehicles

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Volvo Trucks has introduced its new transport system, which is made up of autonomous electric commercial vehicles that can contribute to “more efficient, safer and cleaner transportation.”

According to Volvo Trucks, the long-term goal is to provide companies that need continuous transport services between fixed hubs a complement to what's offered today.

“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,” says Claes Nilsson, President Volvo Trucks.

Volvo Trucks' future transport system is designed to be used for regular and repetitive tasks characterized by relatively short distances, large volumes of goods and high delivery precision. A typical example of this is transport between logistics hubs, but there are other use cases as well.

“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,” explains Mikael Karlsson, Vice President Autonomous Solutions.

“The solution utilizes existing road infrastructure and load carriers, making it easier to recoup costs and allowing for integration with existing operations.”

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

Progress of the transport is continuously monitored by the transport control center, which also keeps a close watch on each vehicle's position, the batteries' charge, load content, service requirements, and several other parameters.

To avoid unnecessary waiting and increase delivery precision, speed and progress are tailored, as with an industrial production process. In this way it will be possible to minimize waste in the form of buffer stocks, and increase availability, Volvo Trucks says. Also, vehicles that operate on the same route cooperate to create optimal flow.

Volvo Trucks says that in the near future, its transport system will be further developed together with selected customers in prioritized applications.