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The Swedish company Volvo has signed a contract for the real use of its unmanned trucks with the Norwegian mining company Bronnoy Kalk. Both companies are currently conducting tests. Six Autonomous tractors will be fully operational by the end of 2019. The machines will transport the limestone extracted from the bronnoy-Kalk mine to the port and unload it into the shredder. From there it will be loaded onto a barge. The length of the route from the mine to the unloading place is about 4.8 kilometers. Moving on a predetermined route cars will have to pass through two long tunnels (the length of the first is about 3.5 kilometers, the second – about 800 meters).
At first glance, all this may not seem so impressive, but the main thing here is that Volvo was the first to offer real commercial services for the use of its unmanned trucks. The company, which signed an agreement with the Swedish manufacturer, will have to pay the latter for each delivered metric ton of rock. In other words, Volvo is motivated not only by its commitment to the customer, but also by the opportunity to capitalize on the technology it has been actively promoting all these years.
As noted above, the trucks will move along a predetermined route and therefore there is a very small chance that something will go wrong. To move along the route, cars use a set of GPS sensors, radar, and LiDAR sensors. The test is conducted under the guidance of a representative of the company, who sits in the driver’s seat and is ready at any time to take control of the machine itself.
“We are very excited to reach the opportunity to present our stand-alone solutions. Working in a limited space, on a predetermined route, we will be able to assess the pros and cons of such a solution and the most profitable to adapt it for the end customer”, — says Sasko Kuklev, head of unmanned solutions Volvo Trucks.
In Volvo hint that this approach in the long term can resort to other manufacturers of unmanned vehicles, perhaps even abandoning the sale of individual cars and moving exclusively to the provision of special services for the delivery of certain goods.
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