Vera’s On The Move
By Mike Osenga13 June 2019
First steps for Volvo’s autonomous, electric truck
Volvo Trucks’ electric, connected and autonomous vehicle Vera will form part of an integrated solution to transport goods from a logistics center to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden. The assignment is a result of a new collaboration between Volvo Trucks and the ferry and logistics company, DFDS.
The purpose of the collaboration is to implement Vera in a real application, enabling a connected system for a continuous flow of goods from a DFDS’ logistics center to an APM Terminals port facility in Gothenburg. 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, Volvo said.
The aim is to implement a connected system consisting of several Vera vehicles monitored by a control tower to enable a seamless and constant flow responsive to demands.
The transport control center continuously monitors the progress of the transport and keeps an accurate watch of each vehicle’s position, the batteries’ charge, load content, service requirements and a number of other parameters.
Volvo said 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.
The program is being carried out with support from the Swedish Innovation Agency Vinnova, the Swedish Transport Administration and the Swedish Energy Agency through the strategic vehicle research and innovation program FFI.
The assignment is to move containers from the DFDS logistics center in Gothenburg to an APM terminals container terminal according to needed capacity.
APM Terminals, part of A.P. Moller – Maersk, an integrated container logistics company, operates a network of 76 ports globally. DFDS provides ferry and transport services in Europe and Turkey. DFDS is headquartered in Copenhagen,
Volvo said the application is suited for repetitive flows with a maximum speed of 25 mph (40 km/h). Infrastructure adaptations are part of the scope in the implementation of the total transport system, including automated gates at the terminals.
In 2018, Volvo Trucks presented Vera, its first electric, connected and autonomous solution, designed for repetitive assignments in logistics centers, factories and ports. Vera is suited for short distances, transporting large volumes of goods.
“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.
“We want to be at the forefront of connected, autonomous transportation. 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,” said Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS.