Volvo field tests self-steering truck for sugar cane harvest
Brazilian sugar cane producer Usina Santa Terezinha Group is field testing a new self-steering truck from Volvo, which looks set to help growers boost yield and profit. “With the help of Volvo Trucks’ solution, we can increase productivity – not just for one single crop but for the entire lifecycle of the sugar cane plant, which lasts five to six years,” says Paulo Meneguetti, Usina Santa Terezinha’s finance and procurement director.
At present, the sugar cane harvest is collected in manually -controlled trucks, which drive alongside each other at a low speed. However, up to 4% of the crop is lost as young plants are crushed and the soil is compacted by the vehicles.
To solve this, Volvo Trucks has developed a driver assistance system that automates steering. Using GPS receivers, the truck follows a coordinate-based map across the sugar-cane field.
Two gyroscopes ensure the vehicle is steered with precision, to prevent the truck from veering more than 25mm laterally from its set course.
When loading, the driver can choose to regulate speed with the help of the vehicle’s cruise control or to accelerate and brake manually.
Volvo says more vehicles will be tested this summer and the solution will be available commercially “in the foreseeable future”. The sugar cane project is one of several automated vehicles in development by Volvo, including one for refuse collection in Sweden.
- ^ Laura Cork (www.transportengineer.org.uk)
- ^ Volvo Group UK Ltd (www.transportengineer.org.uk)
- ^ See Terms and Conditions. (www.transportengineer.org.uk)
- ^ contact the sales team (www.transportengineer.org.uk)