Volvo achieves milestone in autonomous trucks

Volvo Autonomous Trucks have dispensed with the safety driver in Norway.

Volvo Autonomous Solutions (VAS) has achieved an industry-first milestone with the removal of the safety driver in an active commercial mining operation at Brönnöy Kalk mine in Velfjord, Norway.

The autonomous transport solution developed for Brönnöy Kalk consists of seven fully autonomous Volvo FH trucks and VAS’s in-house developed virtual driver. Operating in challenging conditions that include steep inclination, extreme weather and long stretches of dark tunnels, the trucks haul limestone from the mine to the crusher.

For Nils Jaeger, President of Volvo Autonomous Solutions, a long-held vision is now a reality.

“Removing the safety driver in an active commercial transport operation in some of the world’s most challenging conditions is a major leap for the industry,” he said.

“With this milestone we are underlining VAS’s leadership in autonomous driving and paving the way for safer and more efficient future for the mining and quarrying industries,” said Jaeger.

Raymond Langfjord, Managing Director of Brönnöy Kalk agreed it represents a major step forward for the company.

“We implemented autonomous trucks for several reasons: safety, efficiency and flexibility. With the removal of the safety driver we can now truly reap these benefits and increase our competitiveness in this tough industry,” he said.

The solution implemented at Brönnöy Kalk has been in development since 2018 and represents not just a major breakthrough in technology but also provides exciting new business models.

According to Sven-Erik Gustafsson, Head of Solutions, Mining and Quarry at VAS, this is because, rather than purchasing a truck or machine, Brönnöy Kalk is buying autonomous transport capacity from VAS.

“While autonomy brings unprecedented benefits to the industry, incorporating new technologies into existing operations can be a daunting challenge for many customers,” he explained.

“By providing a complete solution that encompasses everything from software to site infrastructure to training to operations, we are able to reduce complexity for customers like Brönnöy Kalk and enable them to be a part of the autonomous future,” Gustafsson said.

The solution includes seven Volvo FH Trucks, VAS in-house developed virtual driver for confined areas, infrastructure, training as well as a comprehensive repair and maintenance program.

A wheel loader operator uses a touch screen in the wheel loader to call the trucks for loading and to manage the operation.

Nils Jaeger, President of Volvo Autonomous Solutions.
Nils Jaeger.
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