A fleet of seven fully autonomous Volvo FH trucks are being used as part of a challenging mining operation in Norway.
Volvo Autonomous Solutions (V.A.S.) says the removal of the safety driver in this active commercial mining operation is an “industry-first milestone”.
The driverless trucks are being used at Norway’s Brönnöy Kalk mine. The Volvo FH trucks use a virtual driver system developed by V.A.S.
This “virtual driver” is designed for confined areas, infrastructure, training as well as a comprehensive repair and maintenance program.
A touch screen in the wheel loader allows the operator to call the trucks for loading and to manage the operation.
The trucks face a steep inclination, extreme weather and long stretches of dark tunnels as they haul limestone from the mine to the crusher.
“A long-held vision is now a reality. Removing the safety driver in an active commercial transport operation in some of the world’s most challenging conditions is a major leap for the industry,” said president of Volvo Autonomous Solutions, Nils Jaeger.
“With this milestone we are underlining V.A.S.’s leadership in autonomous driving and paving the way for safer and more efficient future for the mining and quarrying industries.”
Managing director of Brönnöy Kalk, Raymond Langfjord, called the move a major step forward. “We implemented autonomous trucks for several reasons: safety, efficiency and flexibility. With the removal of the safety driver we can now truly reap these benefits and increase our competitiveness in this tough industry.”
The solution implemented at Brönnöy Kalk has been in development since 2018.
“While autonomy brings unprecedented benefits to the industry, incorporating new technologies into existing operations can be a daunting challenge for many customers,” said Sven-Erik Gustafsson, head of solutions, mining and quarry at V.A.S.
“By providing a complete solution that encompasses everything from software to site infrastructure to training to operations, we are able to reduce complexity for customers like Brönnöy Kalk and enable them to be a part of the autonomous future.”