BBC: The rise of the machines is taking aim at truckers. This is Volvo’s concept for a driverless, electric truck, or ‘semi’ if you prefer. Stop sniggering at the back, you’ll offend her. She’s called Vera.
Volvo says the idea is for ‘Vera’ to be monitored by a cloud-based service, speeding up the worldwide business of logistics. Because a driverless truck doesn’t need to take breaks, or pull over in a grotty layby for a sleep at the end of a working day, it’d make enterprises that depend on trucking run more efficiently. Volvo says it’d be especially useful in busy hubs like ports and warehouses. Being electric, maintenance should be minimal and the only delays are for recharging.
According to Mikael Karlsson, Vice President Autonomous Solutions at Volvo Trucks, “Vera is still under development, as we need to take steps to secure safety aspects and can deliver a premium experience to our customers. “Round the clock operations could mean faster delivery times for consumer products. Moreover, since the vehicles are electric, society can benefit from reduced noise, road congestion and exhaust emissions.”
The chassis itself uses Volvo’s existing electric truck powertrain, which has a 185kW motor and has a range of up to 186 miles. It’ll also pull a standard trailer with loads of up to 32 tonnes.
While these won’t be whizzing down motorways any time soon (phew, have you seen I, Robot?) Volvo is confident these drone trucks could be operating in confined areas where truck driving is arduous in the near future. Top Gear for one welcome our new robot overlords. We just didn’t expect their leader to be called Vera.