It has been almost four decades since the first Autonomous vehicle was unveiled in 1980s by Carnegie Mellon University’s Navlab. However, due to multiple liability issues, the widespread adoption of the technology is still facing challenges. Volvo Group, among other leading Auto manufacturers, has been enthusiastically involved in this futuristic trend of self-driving vehicle development.
Volvo, in collaboration with Swedish Waste and Recycling Specialist Renova, is paving the way to use autonomous vehicles for serving as a tool for municipal waste management. The vehicles are no longer thought to be an invention for the elite or disabled only.
Autonomous Truck Design
The autonomous trucks or self-driving refuse trucks are designed to ensure safe driving in urban areas and reduce work-related injuries. The truck scans it’s surroundings using sensors that cover the perimeter of the truck. The sensors, on encountering an obstruction, detect it and command the truck to a halt immediately. The refuse trucks are pre-programmed to travel between wheelie-bins. This gives driver the freedom to not climb out and in of the vehicle every time.
Lars Stenqvist, Volvo Group’s Chief Technology Officer, had the following to say;
“There is amazing potential to transform the swift pace of technical developments in automation into practical benefits for customers and, more broadly, society in general. Our self-driving refuse truck is leading the way in this field globally, and one of the several exciting autonomous innovations we are working with right now. One important benefit of the new technology is a reduction in the risk of occupational injuries, such as wear in knee joints otherwise a common ailment among staff working with the refuse collection.”
These test drives of the autonomous refuse truck allow the developers to examine the performance of the sensors regarding the accuracy of detection, navigation and monitoring the surroundings of the vehicle. Other developments in autonomous vehicles are being made in all the ‘controls’, from steering and change of gear to control of acceleration. The aim of these control related development is to reduce the fuel consumption and the vehicle’s carbon emission. These developments have already been implemented in the underground mining operations, also a product of Volvo Group Autonomous Vehicle.
The Swedish-based Automobile Company, with this Public Serving Autonomous Vehicle, has marked a pioneering moment in the years to come, however, the company is determined to pave more ways for the future with innovative automation. The company harbors a deep enthusiasm for research on electromobility and intelligent machines.
“We believe that automation will redefine the commercial transport solutions that most of us rely on every day. Automation will create real-life benefits for both our customers and the society in terms of productivity, safety, energy and fuel efficiency”.