Yesterday Volvo Trucks debuted a new model that is so autonomous that you couldn’t put a driver inside it if you wanted to. The new Volvo “Vera” debuted on Wednesday, September 12.
Vera is a self-driving electric tractor unit that has no cab attached for a driver. Volvo says that the Vera trucks will be able to pull loads of 32 metric tons and can be attached to standard trailers. Volvo says that the Vera will have a lower than normal operating speed for safety reasons.
The autonomous vehicles will operate by linking via cloud technology to other trucks and to an operations center. Volvo promises that the Vera trucks will produce zero emissions and very little noise.
Volvo suggests that the Vera will mainly be used for short distance applications at ports or logistics hubs: “Volvo Trucks’ future transport solution is intended to be used for regular and repetitive tasks characterised by relatively short distances, large volumes of goods and high delivery precision. Transports between logistic hubs are typical examples, but additional use cases can also be applicable.” Volvo says that they expected to continue to see a driver behind the wheel of most trucks for the “foreseeable future.”
Volvo says that the Vera is still in the development process. It isn’t clear when the trucks will be commercially available.