Volvo takes self-driving trucks underground

Concept Volvo FMX truck tested in a mine in the north of Sweden

Volvo takes self-driving trucks underground
Volvo FMX concept.


While many manufacturers are testing self-driving trucks on the surface, Volvo is taking its trials a little deeper.

According to the Swedish truck maker, it is putting its autonomous vehicle to work underground to test how the truck handles the difficult conditions.

The featured truck is a concept Volvo FMX updated to include a number of sensors that continuously monitor fixed and moving obstacles in its surroundings.

The FMX is also equipped with an on-board transport system that gathers information to optimise its route and fuel consumption.

Promising safety and improved transport movements through the worksite, the truck is travelling a 7km route through the Boliden Group’s Kristineberg Mine as part of real-life operations.

Featuring in a company video from the mine, Volvo Group Executive Board member and Volvo Group CTO Torbjörn Holmström says the concept truck is making history.

"This is the world’s first fully self-driving truck to operate under such tough conditions," he says.

"It is a true challenge to ensure that everything works meticulously more than 1,300 metres underground."

To demonstrate the truck’s ability to recognise objects in front of it, the video shows Holmström putting himself in the path of the truck as it moves through the underground tunnels.

"No matter what type of vehicle we develop, safety is always our primary concern and this also applies to self-driving vehicles," he says.

"I was convinced the truck would stop but naturally I felt a knot in my stomach until the truck applied its brakes!"

The video can be watched below. Volvo has more videos on its website here.




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