Volvo Trucks and DFDS, a logistics company based in Copenhagen, Denmark, recently teamed up to send Volvo’s autonomous electric vehicle, Vera, on its first mission. Vera will haul containers full of goods from a DFDS logistics centre to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden, in a continuous loop. (Volvo posted a video about the project here.) The operation is an important real-world demonstration for Volvo and a step in a new direction for DFDS. “We want to be at the forefront of connected, autonomous transportation,” says Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS. “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.”
Back & Forth
Volvo first introduced Vera in 2018 as a solution for handling “repetitive assignments in logistics centres, factories, and ports,” and thanks to its compact design, Vera can transport high-capacity loads. It has a top speed of 40 kilometres per hour and is monitored by an operator in a control tower for safety purposes. This initial assignment with DFDS involves one Vera model, but the goal is to connect multiple automated vehicles to one another to create “a seamless and constant flow” of goods that is more “responsive to demands.” To achieve that goal, Volvo says technologies will need to continue to evolve as the necessary infrastructure is put in place.
First Step Into A Larger World
Port work is just the beginning for Vera as Volvo Trucks hopes to expand the concept out to other similar operations in the future. “Autonomous transport, 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,” says Mikael Karlsson, vice president, autonomous solutions, at Volvo Trucks. “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.”
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