Volvo recently revealed Vera, an autonomous electric commercial vehicle concept meant to be a more efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to existing transport technologies. Unlike other autonomous truck projects designed for long haul operations, Vera is built specifically for making deliveries over shorter distances, essentially on a loop along the same route between various hubs. Volvo hopes that this project will reduce pollution, traffic congestion, and noise levels, but another major goal is to meet growing demand for transport services in general.
“Everything suggests that the global need for transportation will continue to significantly increase in the coming decade,” says Claes Nilsson, president of Volvo Trucks. “If we are to meet this demand in a sustainable and efficient way, we must find new solutions. In order to secure a smoothly functioning goods flow system, we also need to exploit existing infrastructure better than currently. The transport system we are developing can be an important complement to today's solutions and can help meet many of the challenges faced by society, transport companies, and transport buyers.”
How It Works
The heart of Volvo’s Vera program is the transport control centre, which continuously monitors autonomous vehicles connected via the cloud to ensure they are traveling along the correct path and have an adequate battery charge, among other factors. The vehicles have onboard systems that help with positioning so they can be aware of their surroundings; these systems can also analyse the location and behavior of other drivers in order to operate as efficiently and safely as possible.
“Our system can be seen as an extension of the advanced logistics solutions that many industries already apply today,” says Mikael Karlsson, vice president of Autonomous Solutions at Volvo.
“Since we use autonomous vehicles with no exhaust emissions and low noise, their operation can take place at any time of day or night. The solution utilises existing road infrastructure and load carriers, making it easier to recoup costs and allowing for integration with existing operations.”
Vera isn’t available for purchase just yet, but you can find hundreds of used Volvo trucks for sale every day on TruckPaper.