Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-biggest truck maker, presented a new self-driving electric truck on Wednesday, which it said should help respond to the boom in e-commerce and a shortage of freight drivers.
The company, which is a separate entity to Volvo Cars, rolled out a fully self-driving, electric semi concept. The goal is to make the process not only more efficient but safer and cleaner.
Volvo suggests that the Vera will mainly be used for short distance applications at ports or logistics hubs: "Volvo Trucks' future transport solution is meant to be used for regular and repetitive tasks characterised by relatively short distances, large volumes of goods and high delivery precision". It features all of the various sensors required for self-driving and is monitored via a central transport control hub. They are created to locate their current position to within centimeters, monitor in detail and analyze what is happening with other road users, and then respond with high accuracy.
While the cabless truck may look very futuristic, Volvo points out current logistics systems suit it very well and there are other benefits too.
Vera would be connected to a cloud service at all times and a transport control center that keeps an eye on the vehicle, including its road position, load content, service requirements, and other parameters.
"Everything suggests that the global need for transportation will continue to significantly increase in the coming decade", Volvo Trucks President Claes Nilsson said.
"Vera means faith and we have faith in the future", Karlsson said, adding the vehicle has a lower operating speed than a normal truck for safety reasons. As more experience is gained and the technology advances, the applications will be expanded.
Volvo believes vehicles like Vera will prove especially useful in industries with a heavy reliance on trucking and transportation. "The transport system we are developing can be an important complement to today's solutions and can help meet numerous challenges faced by society, transport companies and transport buyers".