Volvo, the second largest trucking company in the world, stepped up its self-driving game by introducing Vera, an autonomous electric-vehicle that is controlled and monitored by a cloud-based service.
Vera is designed for regular and repetitive tasks, over short distances, where large volumes of goods need to be delivered with high precision, such as in ports, factory areas, and mega-logistics centers.
Volvo sees Vera as a complement to its existing offerings, to be used in high traffic, round-the-clock operation centers like ports and mega-logistics centers.
Vera can transport loads weighing up to 32 tonnes.
It is still not clear when the vehicles will be available commercially.
Official Speak: What does Volvo say?
“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. “It utilises the same infrastructure, such as standard containers and trailers. This is important since the global logistics system is not going to change overnight.”
How does it work?
Electric vehicles are fitted with the same type of driveline and battery packs used by Volvo electric trucks and are equipped with sophisticated systems for autonomous driving.
The vehicle operates at low speed to increase safety and stays connected to a control center.
The transport control center, which acts as a brain, continuously monitors the progress of the transport network by tracking each vehicle’s position, the batteries’ charge, load content, service requirements and a number of other parameters.
The transport control center adjusts the speed and progress of operations as and when it’s required.