Volvo is the next to promote an autonomous vehicle service. The service includes autonomous trucks transporting materials from a mine. In a “landmark” agreement in Norway with Bronnoy Kalk AS, a mining company. The agreement entails that Volvo to haul commercial loads of quarried limestone across the mine’s property. The mine will make use of six autonomous vehicles. The trucks that will be hauling the limestone will be Volvo FH’s. They will be traveling three and a half miles from Bronnoy Kalk’s open pit mine to the stone crusher located on the mine’s dock. The truck service has already been tested and is set to be fully operational by the end of 2019. This is set to bring a major change to that company’s processes.
The agreement, between the truck maker and the mine, calls for the truck ownership to remain with Volvo. Think of it like a rented transportation service. Volvo will be paid depending on how many tons their trucks deliver. Executives at Bronnoy Kalk believe that this service will bring about a positive, time-saving venture.
“The competition in the industry is tough,” Raymond Langfjord, the mine’s managing director, said in a statement. “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.” Another showcase of the benefits that digital technology can bring various industries.
This isn’t one of the first autonomous vehicle services available to private companies. Unmanned self-driving vehicles are on private company sites in several locations worldwide. Volvo is the first, however, to adapt heavy-duty tractor models for fully autonomous operation.
“We are proud to be able to present an autonomous solution that will meet the challenges of our customers in terms of safety, reliability, and profitability,” Volvo Trucks President Claes Nilsson said in a statement. The service isn’t widely available to companies as of yet. There are still more tests to be done. Volvo is currently working with a select few customers that are onboard with the risks associated with the testing process.
Not everyone agrees with this use of autonomous technologies. Volvo has its fair share of outspoken critics for trying to make this version of autonomous vehicle use more widespread. Of course, the first point of criticism is how this takes away jobs. Volvo candidly replied, “Obviously, this can affect drivers in this type of application, but in the big picture, we foresee an increased need for skilled drivers. We strongly believe that technology drives prosperity and takes society forward. We foresee that there will be an increased level of automation where it makes sense, such as for repetitive tasks. This, in turn, will drive prosperity and increase the need for truck drivers in other applications.”
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