Volvo Trucks has announced an agreement with Norwegian mining company Brønnøy Kalk AS that will see the truckmaker provide its first commercial autonomous solution to transport limestone from an open mine to a nearby port.
Brønnøy Kalk AS will use six autonomous Volvo FH trucks to transport limestone along a five kilometre route. The partners are currently testing the technology, with a view to having it fully operational by the end of 2019.
Raymond Langfjord, Managing Director of the mine, said that the company faced tough industry competition. “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,” said Langfjord.
“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.”
Rather than purchasing the autonomous trucks, the mining company is buying a ‘transport solution’ – the transport of the limestone between the two hubs. Under the agreement, Brønnøy Kalk AS will pay per tonne of limestone delivered.
Volvo Trucks President Claes Nilsson said: “We are proud to be able to present an autonomous solution which will meet the challenges of our customers both in terms of safety, reliability and profitability.
“The global transport needs are continuously changing at a very high pace and the industry is demanding new and advanced solutions to stay ahead.”
Sasko Cuklev, Director Autonomous Solutions at Volvo Trucks, said: “It is exciting to reach this point where we introduce autonomous solutions.
“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. This is all about collaborating to develop new solutions, providing greater flexibility and efficiency as well as increased productivity.”