Specially built self-driving Volvo trucks are being tested at the site with the aim of improving safety in the mine, increasing production capacity and at the same time reducing fuel consumption. Swedish automotive manufacturer the Volvo Group is working on a technology for autonomous underground vehicles in Kristineberg mine. Specially built self-driving Volvo trucks are being tested at the site with the aim of improving safety in the mine, increasing production capacity and at the same time reducing fuel consumption. Self-driving vehicles need connectivity to receive their instructions. But connectivity can be used for so much more. As well as being used in self-driving vehicles and in autonomous vehicles with drivers, it can also be used in completely manual vehicles with drivers. This means that different types of vehicles can work together, as in a mine.
The first step was manual driving around the mine, building up a map in the process by using a sensor system. The next step was to use the software to locate the truck. The truck compares what it sees on the map with its actual position. It then sends information to a server, a process known as cloud functionality. Finally, this information is sent to all the connected vehicles, which can then start working. “We’re also considering a range of different cloud functions. We want to be able to send information such as cargo statistics securely from the connected vehicles to the customer wherever they are in the world,” he explains. “I’ve heard that we’ll have a million connected vehicles within the Volvo Group by 2020, but I think there’ll be more than that,” says Johan Tofeldt.