Volvo is taking its commercial truck business autonomous. Last week, the company announced that experimental self-driving trucks will lug stone from a Norwegian rock quarry to a port where the raw materials are shipped elsewhere.
The agreement between Volvo Trucks and Brønnøy Kalk AS will see six self-driving trucks move limestone from a quarry to a nearby port. It's the first agreement of its kind for Volvo Trucks and a unique one at that. Rather than Brønnøy Kalk AS purchasing the trucks for its business, Volvo Trucks will be paid for the service. Charges will incur for every ton of limestone delivered from the quarry to the port. Along the way, the self-driving trucks will tackle five kilometers (about 3.1 miles) of travel before they reach the port.
Raymond Langfjord, Managing Director of the mine, said the new service is a game-changer for the business and imagined it will help increase efficiency dramatically. And it's needed as the market goes more global and competition increases for the Norwegian mine.
The trucks will have an onboard operator should anything go wrong, but Volvo Truck is confident the vehicles will have no issues making their way through tunnels, the mine itself, and out to the nearby port.
Volvo said tests are ongoing at the quarry and each has been carried out successfully. They'll continue through the end of 2019 before the new service goes fully operational.