Volvo Develops Self-Steering Truck for Farm Use
Volvo Trucks developed a self-steering truck to assist Brazilian sugar-cane growers in harvesting their crops. The truck is used to transport newly harvested sugar cane and has GPS receivers to follow a map across a sugar cane field as well as gyroscopes to prevent it from veering more than a few millimeters from a set course, according to Volvo. In manually controlled trucks, drivers have to match the speed of a harvester while concentrating on driving in its tracks, so as not to trample the nearby plants that will become next year’s crop.
Currently, about 4% of the crop is lost as young plants are run over and the soil is compacted by moving vehicles, the company said. RELATED: Smarter cars paving the way for robot vehicles “With this solution, we will soon be able to significantly increase the productivity of our customers in the sugar cane industry.
At the same time, we will improve their drivers’ working conditions and safety. This, in turn, will make the job more appealing and make it easier to recruit and maintain drivers,” said Wilson Lirmann, president of Volvo Group Latin America. With the self-steering technology, a driver can choose to regulate speed with the help of the vehicle’s cruise control or to accelerate and brake manually.
Volvo said with the self-steering function, the truck driver is released from the concentration-demanding and tiring high-precision steering process, making it is easier to remain focused and work safely. RELATED: Despite a cautious public, automation the future of vehicles, experts say “With the help of Volvo Trucks’ solution we can increase productivity, not just for one single crop but for the entire life cycle of the sugar cane plant, which lasts five to six years,” Santa Terezinha Finance and Procurement Director Paulo Meneguetti said in a statement.
The research project will transition into the product development phase this summer, with more vehicles being field-tested.
The self-steering truck being used for sugar cane transport is one of Volvo Trucks’ research and development projects for automated vehicles.
The company also is conducting tests on an autonomous truck for mining operations in the Kristineberg Mine in northern Sweden, and an autonomous refuse collection truck is being tested in Gothenburg, Sweden.
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