In what is being described as a landmark deal by Volvo Trucks, the commercial vehicle manufacturer has announced it has agreed to provide its first commercial autonomous solution in Norway.
Brønnøy Kalk AS will use six driverless Volvo FH trucks to transport limestone from pit to port, a five-kilometre journey through a network of tunnels between the mine site and crusher.
The agreement, reportedly a first of its kind for Volvo Trucks, involves a deal whereby the customer buys a total transport service and pays per tonne delivered.
An operator of a wheel loader will manage the autonomous Volvo FH trucks from hub to hub in a controlled environment near Velfjord in Norway.
While tests for the operation have been ongoing, they are set to continue into the latter half of 2019 when it is anticipated the commercial solution will become fully operational.
It’s a first for Volvo Trucks who will be selling the transport solution rather than just autonomous trucks to Brønnøy Kalk.
Raymond Langfjord, Managing Director of the mine said it was an important first step given competition in the resources sector was always tough.
“We are continuously looking to increase our efficiency and productivity long-term, and we have a clear vision of taking advantage of new opportunities in technology and digital solutions,” he said.
“We were searching for a reliable and innovative partner that shares our focus on sustainability and safety.”
“Going autonomous will greatly increase our competitiveness in a tough global market,” said Langfjord.
Volvo Trucks, according to its President Claes Nilsson, is providing an autonomous solution that will meet the challenges of its customers in terms of safety, reliability and profitability.
“Global transport needs are continuously changing at a very high pace and the industry is demanding new and advanced solutions to stay ahead,” he said.
“Our aim is to be the leader of the development of products and services to respond to these demands” he said.
Reaching this point of introducing autonomous solutions, according to Sasko Cuklev, Volvo Trucks Director Autonomous Solutions, was exciting.
“By working in a confined area on a predetermined route, we can find out how to get the best out of the solution and tailor it according to specific customer needs,” he said.
“This is all about collaborating to develop new solutions, providing greater flexibility and efficiency as well as increased productivity.”