Volvo’s fully autonomous truck has become the world’s first self-driving truck to be tested in real-life deep underground operations, as part of an R&D project with Saab’s wholly owned technology consulting company Combitech.
The Swedish car maker has released a film showing its specially equipped Volvo FMX covering a distance of 7 kilometres and reaching 1,320 metres underground in the narrow mine tunnels of the Kristineberg Mine located 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.”
Mr Holmström, who takes part in the film, said he didn’t hesitate to stand in the middle of the mine gallery as the truck approached him.
“No matter what type of vehicle we develop, safety is always our primary concern and this also applies to self-driving vehicles,” he added.
“I was convinced the truck would stop but naturally I felt a knot in my stomach until the truck applied its brakes!”
The self-driving truck uses various sensors to continuously monitor its surroundings and avoid both fixed and moving obstacles. It is also fitted with an on-board transport system that collects data to optimise and coordinate the route and fuel consumption.