Volvo Trucks will soon be deploying Vera — its all-electric autonomous vehicle — for commercial real-world operations in Sweden. The project is in collaboration with Danish international shipping and logistics company, DFDS.
In the initial stage, Vera will be used, in part, to ensure the continuous flow of shipping containers by transporting them autonomously from a logistics centre to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden. The data and knowledge gathered from this first deployment will allow Volvo Trucks to improved their autonomous vehicle systems for future projects.
“Now we have the opportunity to implement Vera in an ideal setting and further develop her potential for other similar operations,” says Mikael Karlsson, Vice President Autonomous Solutions at Volvo Trucks.
The predetermined route will take Vera along a combination of closed private roads and open public roads at a maximum speed of 40km/h. Vera is suitable for the task due to the mostly repetitive aspect of the job.
In addition to the autonomous vehicle, Volvo Trucks had to also work with partners and authorities to adapt the current port and road infrastructure (such as automated gates at the terminals) to make autonomous transport possible. And while the system is generally autonomous, Vera will still require close human monitoring.
Who is Vera?
Vera is Volvo’s vision of an autonomous transportation future. Unveiled in 2018, the all-electric commercial transport vehicle is designed for repetitive assignments in logistics centres, factories and ports where moving a large volume of goods across short distances is required.
Volvo Trucks employed a unique approach when creating Vera by looking at how an autonomous vehicle — which doesn’t require a driver cabin — would look like. A large part of the design consideration went into making the design immediately recognisable and approachable.