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Robot Trucks Are Here

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There’s no doubt about it, it’s true, robot trucks are here. Every few weeks another task is being handled by an autonomous truck in one of the many demonstration projects which are being used as a proof-of-concept for autonomous trucks.

Volvo Trucks’ autonomous, electric and connected vehicle Vera will form part of an integrated solution to transport goods from a DFDS logistics centre to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The purpose of the collaboration is to utilise Vera in a real application, enabling a connected system for a continuous flow of goods, from a logistics centre at DFDS, which provides ferry and transport services in Europe and Turkey, to an APM Terminals port facility in Gothenburg, for distribution across the world.

“Now we have the opportunity to implement Vera in an ideal setting and further develop her potential for other similar operations,” says Mikael Karlsson, Vice President Autonomous Solutions at Volvo Trucks.

The aim is to implement a connected system consisting of several Vera vehicles monitored by a control tower. The purpose is to enable a constant flow responsive to demands on greater efficiency, flexibility and sustainability. The collaboration with DFDS is a first step towards implementing Vera in a real transport assignment on pre-defined public roads in an industrial area.

“We want to be at the forefront of connected, autonomous transportation,” said Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS. “This collaboration will help us develop an efficient, flexible and sustainable long-term solution for receiving autonomous vehicles arriving at our gates, benefitting our customers, the environment and our business”

The autonomous transport solution will be further developed in terms of technology, operations management and infrastructure adaptations, before it can be fully operational. Moreover, necessary safety precautions will be taken to meet societal requirements for a safe path towards autonomous transports.

“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,” said Mikael Karlsson. “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 assignment is to move containers from the DFDS logistics centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, to an APM terminals container terminal according to needed capacity. The autonomous system is monitored by an operator in a control tower who is also responsible for the transport. The solution is suited for repetitive jobs with a maximum speed of 40 km/h. Infrastructure adaptations are part of the scope in the implementation of the total transport system, including automated gates at the terminals.

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