Self-driving truck tested by Volvo in underground mine

Monday, 12 September, 2016

Self-driving truck tested by Volvo in underground mine

Volvo’s self-driving truck has been tested in an underground mine for the first time. A video of the operation has been released by Volvo Group to demonstrate how autonomous vehicles can improve safety and transport flow underground.

The film was recorded in harsh operating conditions in the Kristineberg Mine, 100 km from Arvidsjaur in northern Sweden.

“This is the world’s first fully self-driving truck to operate under such tough conditions,” said Torbjörn Holmström, member of the Volvo Group executive board and Volvo Group chief technology officer. “It is a true challenge to ensure that everything works meticulously more than 1300 metres underground.”

Holmström features in the film, standing in the middle of the mine gallery as the truck drives toward him to demonstrate the safety of the vehicle.

“I was convinced the truck would stop, but naturally I felt a knot in my stomach until the truck applied its brakes,” he said.

The entirely autonomous truck is a specially equipped Volvo FMX. Using various sensors, it continuously monitors its surroundings and avoids both fixed and moving obstacles. At the same time, an onboard transport system gathers data to optimise and coordinate the route and fuel consumption. The truck is part of a development project and is being tested in real-life operation for the very first time. It will cover a distance of 7 km, reaching 1320 m underground in the narrow mine tunnels.

Image credit: © Eduard

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