Volvo Trucks develops autonomous goods transport solution: Vera

Volvo Trucks has developed an integrated solution called Vera for transporting goods from a distribution centre to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden. Vera is a fully automated, self-driving electrically powered vehicle resulting from a new collaborative partnership between Volvo Trucks and ferry operator and logistics company DFDS.

The collaboration between Volvo Trucks and DFDS is aimed at implementing Vera in an existing application. This consists of a system for the continuous flow of goods from the DFDS distribution centre to the port terminal, for subsequent shipment all over the world.

Volvo Trucks presented its first electrically powered autonomous solution including online connectivity back in 2018. It was designed for high-frequency tasks in distribution centres, factories and ports. Vera is suitable for the highly precise transport of large volumes of goods over short distances.

Control tower monitoring

“This is an ideal setting in which to implement Vera, with opportunities for further development of other similar activities,” comments Mikael Karlsson, Vice President Autonomous Solutions at Volvo Trucks. The aim is to create a logistics system consisting of multiple Vera vehicles that are monitored via a control tower.

Together, the vehicles form a seamless and constant flow that addresses the demand for improved efficiency, flexibility and sustainability. The partnership with DFDS is the first step in integrating Vera into an existing logistics activity on pre-selected public roads in an industrial area.

Pioneering role

“We want to play a pioneering role in autonomous transportation. This partnership is helping us to develop an efficient, flexible and sustainable solution for the long term. The self-driving vehicles that pass through our gates benefit our customers, the environment and our company,” says Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS.

The stand-alone transport solution needs to be further developed in terms of technology, management and infrastructure modifications to make the vehicles fully operational. In addition, the necessary safety measures are being put in place to meet societal demands for a safe route for the autonomous vehicles.

The future of logistics

“Autonomous transport that minimizes noise levels and eliminates greenhouse-gas emissions will play an important role in the future of logistics and will benefit both industry and society. We see this collaboration as an important starting point and are keen to make progress in this area. Vera’s speed may be limited, but ours isn’t!’ states Karlsson.