Volvo new driverless truck is self-driving, electric and cloud-based
Volvo is charging ahead in the self-driving vehicle race.
Volvo has just revealed its vision for driverless truck fleets with Vera, a self-driving, all-electric truck cab that, in the words of Volvo’s vice president of autonomous solutions Mikael Karlsson is “quiet and totally predictable”. Those aren’t two words normally associated with the tech or automotive industries but Karlsson believes this is what really makes Vera great.
Aptly named Vera, which is Russian for ‘faith’, Volvo’s truck cab is is the world’s newest self-driving truck. Unveiled on Wednesday, while the world was gearing up for Apple’s new iPhones , the truck cab is Volvo’s attempt to revolutionise the logistics industry.
Unlike self-driving vehicles from Google or Uber where a driver is always present in case of emergency, Vera doesn’t even have a cabin for a driver to sit in. In addition it’s electric, meaning it’s quieter and more environmentally sustainable, which is key for long-distance logistics if the battery range lasts.
Volvo’s new driverless truck fits into pre-existing fleets of trucks as it’s designed to pick up standard trailers and does so simply by reversing into the trailer. It can carry up to 32 tonnes but, as Karlsson reassured, it’ll drive at a slower speed than typical trucks for safety reasons.
Vera was designed to function in confined areas, such as ports or transit hubs, in which it would be able to travel repetitive routes over short distances. Doing so would use the cloud-based system to automate and control multiple Vera trucks as they work. Currently the trucks aren’t designed for transit over long distances, or into metropolitan areas – areas infamous for the unpredictability of driverless vehicles.
While Volvo wouldn’t say when the vehicles would be available commercially, it’ll have to hurry up to keep ahead of competition from Tesla. This is good news for companies who see their wares shipped, as currently shipping centres are restricted by typical working hours, but Unions are already worried about the potential job loss this could bring about.