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Volvo Aims Autonomous Trucks Toward Mining Applications

The company has signed an agreement with Norwegian Brønnøy Kalk to transport limestone on a five-kilometre route between a mine and nearby harbour [1].

Previously, we have seen a number of pilot projects for Volvo’s autonomous trucks, at both underground mines, farming environments and as garbage trucks. Now a deal has been inked to implement the new trucks in Norway in an effort to increase efficiency and safety in the potentially hazardous conditions of the mining sector.

Volvo will still be in possession of the trucks, and instead of vehicles, they will sell the transport service to the customer, and in this case, this means that Brønnøy Kalk pays per ton of limestone actually delivered. By the end of next year, six trucks will be in operation at the site, this without any safety drivers on board.


Personal comments

The promising tests with automated solutions that we’ve seen on predetermined routes in confined areas seem to be maturing towards actual commercial use. This makes a lot of sense for productivity, but also from a safety standpoint in these types of unfriendly environments. A lot of up-front cost for the customer is avoided by packaging it as a transport service instead of selling vehicles. This lowers the bar significantly for commercializing early AV solutions with companies being more open to trying it out. 


Written by Victor Malmsten Lundgren, RISE Viktoria.



1. 2018-11-20. Volvos first commercial self-driving truck will be used in mining