Volvo Autonomous Solutions and Aurora have achieved the next milestone in their partnership to jointly develop on-highway autonomous trucks in the U.S. A prototype of Volvo Trucks’ flagship, long-haul VNL model, integrated with the Aurora Driver technology, was revealed recently, representing an important step towards launching fully autonomous Class 8 trucks commercially in North America.
Building on a rich history of safety and technology expertise, Volvo Autonomous Solutions is paving the way towards offering Volvo autonomous trucks to customers, as well as delivering comprehensive and seamless Transport as a Service (TaaS) solutions for autonomous commercial trucks, tailored to specific customer needs.
“Volvo Autonomous Solutions is proud to take our first, major steps toward the autonomous Volvo VNL in North America,” says Nils Jaeger, president of Volvo Autonomous Solutions. “Our long-standing customer base and their priorities are at the forefront of our path forward in shaping autonomous trucking. We strongly believe in a future in which safe, sustainable, efficient transport solutions are essential for any society to prosper, and autonomous commercial trucking is an important piece of that transformation.”
While research and development are supported by global team efforts, on-highway autonomous truck applications are also being designed and engineered in the U.S., in preparation for future production at Volvo Trucks’ new River Valley Assembly Operations in Dublin, Va.
Safety is paramount for autonomous vehicles and is at the core of all the Volvo Group’s innovations. The Volvo Group brings nearly 100 years of experience as an industry leader in safety standards and producing trusted, quality products. The transformation to autonomous is rooted in this experience and builds on proven safety technologies already in place on the Volvo VNL, including Volvo Dynamic Steering (VDS) and automated transmission (I-Shift).These existing technologies, along with a number of other advanced vehicle features, create a redundant safety-based solution in the autonomous truck’s core systems to ensure safe operations are in place. The foundation of these proven Volvo Trucks’ safety systems combined with the Aurora Driver technology ensures the highest safety outcome at every step of the development process, Volvo says.
“We are proud that our Volvo VNL model will serve as the foundation for the development of North American autonomous trucks to offer our customers the next generation of safe, efficient and sustainable transport solutions,” says Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America.
Contributing to a more sustainable society is another driving force of Volvo Autonomous Solutions’ strategy. Bringing autonomous Volvo on-highway trucks to market will complement today’s transport system to help meet the increasing demand for moving goods while minimizing the environmental impact.
“We believe that autonomous solutions will complement the transport system of today and will be implemented where there is a purpose and where it makes sense,” says Sasko Cuklev, head of on-road solutions for Volvo Autonomous Solutions. “It is important for us to be part of this transformation, and together with our customers and partners, to be a leader in building up the new ecosystem.”
As Volvo Autonomous Solutions and Aurora continue to make progress with the Volvo VNL prototype digitally revealed recently, the partners are working toward the next step in implementing their hub-to-hub transport vision in North America. This includes identifying specific regions and routes to serve as the initial hubs for on-road highway testing. In addition, Volvo Autonomous Solutions is working closely with customers to understand their current and future needs, priorities and demands, in preparation for piloting the autonomous Volvo VNL in on-road, hub-to-hub transport scenarios, as well as the eventual adoption of autonomous technology commercially.
While the transformation to an autonomous trucking future will not happen overnight, Volvo Autonomous Solutions will continue to further increase the speed of development to support customers’ changing needs across many segments and markets — and ultimately bring the benefits of autonomous transport solutions to the public with safer, more efficient and more sustainable commercial transport of goods across the U.S., according to an announcement.