Volvo is stepping up its automation efforts across multiple industry segments, including mining, with the addition of a new autonomous solutions business area from the start of 2020.
The Volvo Autonomous Solutions business area will accelerate the development, commercialisation and sales of autonomous transport solutions, the company says.
This will enable the Volvo Group to meet a growing demand and to offer the best possible solutions to customers in segments such as mining, ports and transport between logistics centres, it added.
“With global developments that are characterised by higher demand for transportation, increasingly congested roads and major environmental challenges, the industry needs to provide transport solutions that are safer, have a lower environmental impact and are more efficient,” the company said.
“Autonomous transport solutions, based on self-driving and connectivity technologies are well-suited for applications where there is a need to move large volumes of goods and material on pre-defined routes, in repetitive flows. In such situations, autonomous transport solutions can create value for customers by contributing to improved flexibility, delivery precision and productivity.”
Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO of Volvo Group, said the company has experienced a significant increase in enquiries from customers on automation projects.
“With the Volvo Group’s wide range of offerings and broad experience of different applications, we have a unique opportunity to offer solutions that meet their specific needs,” he said. “It is a logical next step for us to gather expertise and resources in a new business area with profit and loss responsibility to take autonomous transport solutions to the next level.”
The Volvo Group has already demonstrated a number of different autonomous transport solutions.
In the Electric Site project, material handling in Skanska’s Vikan Kross quarry, near Gothenburg, Sweden, was automated and electrified. The result was a safer working environment and a reduction of operator costs by 40% and of carbon dioxide emissions by 98%, according to the company.
Since then, the company has announced investments at its Eskilstuna site in Sweden, including an arena for customer demonstrations of electric and autonomous machines, a new R&D test track and an energy recovery system for the factory.
Another pioneering initiative is the self-driving, connected and electric vehicle Vera. In its first assignment Vera will form part of an integrated solution to transport goods from a logistics centre to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Volvo Autonomous Solutions will constitute a new business area as of January 1, 2020, with its financial results reported as part of the Truck segment, it said.