Volvo Trucks has just signed a landmark agreement with Brønnøy Kalk AS in Norway to provide its first commercial autonomous solution transporting limestone from an open pit mine to a nearby port.
The solution for Brønnøy Kalk AS consists of limestone being transported by not only one but six autonomous Volvo FH trucks on a five kilometer stretch through tunnels between the mine itself and the crusher. Tests of this solution have been carried out successfully and will continue throughout 2018 to become fully operational by the end of 2019.
This is not only a turning point for the whole industry from a technological point of view, because rather than purchasing autonomous trucks, Brønnøy Kalk is buying a transport solution – specifically the transport of the limestone between the two hubs and Volvo gets paid per tonne delivered. The global transport needs are continuously changing at a very high pace right now. The industry is demanding new and advanced solutions and Volvo clearly wants to be the leader of the development in this area of products and services.
“This is an important step for us,” says Raymond Langfjord, Managing Director of the mine. “The competition in the industry is tough. We are continuously looking to increase our efficiency and productivity long-term, and we have a clear vision of taking advantage of new opportunities in technology and digital solutions. We were searching for a reliable and innovative partner that shares our focus on sustainability and safety. Going autonomous will greatly increase our competitiveness in a tough global market.”
Volvo once again get ahead of the game by reaching this point where they can safely introduce those autonomous solutions. By working in a confined area on a predetermined route, they'll be able to find out how to get the best out of the solution and tailor it according to specific customer needs.
I think this could very well be the beginning of a completely new chapter of commercial transport. Considering this big leap into the future, the Vera concept feels like being just around the corner.
Source: Volvo Trucks