Volvo Trucks is super-charging its autonomous technology development push with the establishment of a new business division that will focus the company’s engineering, design and financial efforts to accelerate the development, commercialization and sales of self-driving vehicles.
According to Volvo, the new business unit will enable the company to meet a growing demand and to offer the best possible solutions to customers in such segments as mining, ports and transport between logistics centers, as a complement to today’s products and services.
In a press statement, Volvo noted that global developments are creating a higher demand for transportation, along with barriers such as increasingly congested roads and major environmental challenges. To deal with these challenges, the company said, OEMs need to provide transport solutions that are safer, have a lower environmental impact and are more efficient.
Volvo believes autonomous transport solutions, based on self-driving and connectivity technologies are well-suited for applications where there is a need to move large volumes of goods and material on pre-defined routes, in repetitive flows. Eventually, the company said, autonomous vehicles will help alleviate these problems by providing fleets with improved flexibility, delivery precision and productivity.
“We have experienced a significant increase in inquiries from customers. With the Volvo Group’s wide range of offerings and broad experience of different applications, we have a unique opportunity to offer solutions that meet their specific needs. It is a logical next step for us to gather expertise and resources in a new business area with profit and loss responsibility to take autonomous transport solutions to the next level,” says Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO.
The Volvo Group has already demonstrated a number of different autonomous transport solutions, including the Electric Site project, where material handling in a quarry was automated and electrified. The result was a safer working environment and a reduction of operator costs by 40 percent and of carbon dioxide emissions by 98 percent, according to Volvo.
And at the Brønnøy Kalk mine in Norway, autonomous Volvo FH trucks will be used in commercial operation to transport limestone along a five-kilometer stretch.
Another pioneering initiative is the self-driving, connected and electric vehicle Vera. In its first assignment Vera will form part of an integrated solution to transport goods from a logistics center to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Volvo Autonomous Solutions will constitute a new business area as of January 1, 2020. Its financial results will be reported as part of the Truck segment. The recruitment process for the position as Head of Volvo Autonomous Solutions has commenced.