Volvo Trucks is collaborating with Danish logistics company DFDS to test its fully electric autonomous truck, Vera, in a real-world application.
The trial will involve several Vera vehicles transporting goods from a DFDS logistics center to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden, with the vehicles being monitored by a central control tower. It marks the first step toward implementing Vera in a real transportation assignment on pre-defined public roads in an industrial area.
“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.
“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. 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.”
Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS, added, “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.”
Volvo Trucks first unveiled Vera in 2018 with the aim of transporting large volumes of goods with high precision across short distances.
To further advance the company’s efforts in developing autonomous vehicles for commercial applications, Volvo Group signed an agreement with computing specialist Nvidia to jointly develop a flexible, scalable autonomous driving system, which will first be used in commercial pilots and later in commercial offerings.
Utilizing Nvidia’s end-to-end artificial intelligence platform for training, simulation and in-vehicle computing, the resulting system will be capable of safely handling fully autonomous driving on public roads and highways, as well as for applications such as freight transport, refuse collection, public transport, construction, mining, forestry and more.
“Automation creates real-life benefits for both our customers and the society in terms of safety, energy efficiency and as a consequence productivity,” said Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO of the Volvo Group. “We continue to gradually introduce automated applications in the entire spectrum of automation, from driver support systems to fully autonomous vehicles and machines. This partnership with Nvidia is an important next step on that journey.”
The agreement is a long-term partnership spanning several years with personnel from the two companies being co-located in Gothenburg, Sweden, and Santa Clara, California.
“Trucking is the world’s largest network – a network that through online shopping puts practically anything, anywhere in the world, quickly within our reach,” said Jensen Huang, Nvidia founder and CEO. “The latest breakthroughs in AI and robotics bring a new level of intelligence and automation to address the transportation challenges we face. We are thrilled to partner with Volvo Group to reinvent the future of trucking.”