Posted: 06-Oct-2021 |
With truck driver shortages making the international news it’s inevitable that efforts to develop autonomous trucks are gaining interest.
Volvo Autonomous Solutions and tech company Aurora have revealed a prototype version of the long-haul Volvo VNL as part of their partnership to jointly develop on-highway autonomous truck in the US. They say the truck, revealed last week, represents an important step towards launching full autonomous Class 8 trucks commercially in North America.
“Volvo Autonomous Solutions is proud to take our first, major steps toward the autonomous Volvo VNL in North America,” said Nils Jaeger, president of Volvo Autonomous Solutions.
“We strongly believe in a future in which safe, sustainable, efficient transport solutions are essential for any society to prosper, and autonomous commercial trucking is an important piece of that transformation.”
While research and development are supported by global team efforts, on-highway autonomous truck applications are also being designed and engineered in the US, in preparation for future production at Volvo Trucks’ New River Valley Assembly Operations in Dublin, Virginia.
Volvo says it will apply its core safety values to autonomous vehicles.
The Volvo Group brings nearly 100 years of experience as an industry leader in safety standards and producing trusted, quality products. The transformation to autonomous is rooted in this experience and builds on proven safety technologies already in place on the Volvo VNL, including Volvo Dynamic Steering (VDS) and automated transmission (I-Shift).
The existing technologies, along with a number of other advanced vehicle features, create a redundant safety-based solution in the autonomous truck’s core systems to ensure safe operations are in place. The foundation of these proven Volvo Trucks’ safety systems combined with the Aurora Driver technology ensures the highest safety outcome at every step of the development process.
Volvo says bringing autonomous trucks to market will complement today’s transport system to help meet the increasing demand for moving goods while minimizing the environmental impact.
“We believe that autonomous solutions will complement the transport system of today and will be implemented where there is a purpose and where it makes sense,” said Sasko Cuklev, head of on-road solutions for Volvo Autonomous Solutions. “It is important for us to be part of this transformation, and together with our customers and partners, to be a leader in building up the new ecosystem.”
Volvo Autonomous Solutions and Aurora are also working toward implementing their hub-to-hub transport vision in North America. This includes identifying specific regions and routes to serve as the initial hubs for on-road highway testing of autonomous prototypes.
In addition, Volvo Autonomous Solutions is working closely with customers to understand their current and future needs, priorities and demands, in preparation for piloting the autonomous Volvo VNL in on-road, hub-to-hub transport scenarios, as well as the eventual adoption of autonomous technology commercially.