Volvo is a brand that’s going through a significant change in reputation. No longer is it your Grandpa’s Volvo, instead, the company is investing heavily in autonomous vehicles, namely trucks known as Volvo Vera.
This platform is an all-electric vehicle with level 5 autonomy. Not only does it not need a human, Volvo have realised that once the technology is there, a large, heavy cabin to house a driver and all their creature comforts like a bed and steering wheel are just expensive and unnecessary.
Vera will form part of a new assignment transporting goods in repetitive flows, partly on public roads, from a DFDS logistics centre to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweeden.
The footage of Volvo Vera making its way around a shipping container yard is at first a little unnerving, but once you see it in action for a while, you understand it understands its surroundings, the job at hand and is just getting about doing that job quietly and efficiently.
In transport and logistics, the margins are tight, meaning the timing of goods delivery is paramount to making the economics work. Having trucks that can drive 24×7 without standard breaks (still need to go recharge), means the business can be more sustainable in the long term thanks to technology.
If you want to know more about the future plans for Volvo Vera, then this great video with Mikael Karlsson and Sasko Cuklev from Volvo Trucks offers a great insight into where the company is going. They say demand has exploded, a sign of the times where the business is understanding the efficiency opportunity on offer here.
Volvo first unveiled their Vera platform back in September last year (see video below), but at the time it seemed like science fiction, rather than something that would be ready for practical applications any time soon. Just 9 months later, we now have a real-world use case, one that’ll be monitored carefully for business and technology success.
If you’re in this industry and aren’t paying attention to what your competitors are doing, expect to see your customers go elsewhere as those who run to the new technology will have a great advantage of on-time, reliable deliveries. It’s important to remember that these vehicles are connected, meaning that the analytics available for optimising fleet management is incredible.