Volvo Presents Autonomous Truck Without A Cab

A few days after presenting its bold 360c concept, Volvo has taking its autonomous vehicle prowess to the world of trucking and unveiled a wild self-driving electric truck dubbed Vera.

Presented to the press at a special event in Berlin, Germany, Volvo’s special truck previews a future production model which the Swedish automaker intends on rolling out to ports and large logistics centers.

Vera utilizes an all-electric powertrain consisting of the same type of driveline and battery pack used by the first electric Volvo Truck introduced earlier this year. While Volvo hasn’t provided figures for Vera, the previous EV truck had a 185 kW electric motor, lithium-ion battery packs between 100 and 300 kWh in capacity and a range of up to 300 km (186 miles).

One key thing that has been confirmed about Vera is that it can be attached to any standard trailer and pull loads of up to 32 tonnes.

Volvo believes vehicles like Vera will prove especially useful in industries with a heavy reliance on trucking and transportation.

“Since we use autonomous vehicles with no exhaust emissions and low noise, their operation can take place at any time of day or night. The solution utilises existing road infrastructure and load carriers, making it easier to recoup costs and allowing for integration with existing operations,” Vice President Autonomous Solutions at Volvo, Mikael Karlsson said.

Vera would be connected to a cloud service at all times and a transport control center that keeps an eye on the vehicle, including its road position, load content, service requirements, and other parameters.

Volvo believes human drivers will remain in control of most trucks for the foreseeable future but says “we will pretty soon see self-drive commercial vehicles in confined areas.”

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  • Mr. EP9

    Interesting but years off from actually happening.

  • Thundersnow 463

    I pray that never happens. Truckers make up about 3.5 million people in the U.S. Think about how many people would lose jobs. What would Volvo, or anyone, benefit from this? Volvo would get money and attention while the economy takes a sh*t.

    • Kash

      They do make up a huge portion of the American workforce, you’re right, but there are huge driver shortages, so this could help reduce that. There’s also the fact that these would probably only be used for around town deliveries because without a cab there’s no one to fill it up when it runs out of gas or electric so Volvo or whoever probably wouldn’t want them going too far from their hub so they can bring them back between deliveries to refuel them.

    • Silimarina

      1.This would not happen overnight.The change will be gradually.
      2.Before the industrial revolution, the majority of people worked the land
      3.This truck will bring more money to a company, bacause a) it’s electric (fuel savings) and b) it doesn’t nead a driver.A company that will have a fleet of this trucks will have more profit.So the economy will win

      • Thundersnow 463

        Not much fuel savings unless they can make batteries lighter. To get the range of a normal diesel truck with a full load, they would need a lot of batteries. The amount of batteries needed to get the same and/or similar range would put the truck + trailer over the legal weight limit. Read it on roadandtrack somewhere.

        • Silimarina

          In my country some auto journalists, did a road test for a month with a EV. It was 5 times cheaper to drive a EV for the same distance compared to a average same class ICE car. I don’t know if the proportion is the same for trucks

  • Six_Tymes

    great design work for the future, and makes much sense eliminating the cab for many reasons.

  • Jon

    I think it would be great if autonomous trucks ran their long-haul routes in the middle of the night when traffic is lightest, maximizing road capacity for human drivers in passenger vehicles. It would relieve some congestion.

    • Big Black Duck

      This would make sense even now…

  • NoMan2015

    Interesting idea, but it seems like there needs to be more thought directed at making the trailer component more aerodynamic. As designed, now it’s just a huge rectangle speeding down the highway, whereas the cabs previously helped direct airflow above and around the trailer.

    • Big Black Duck

      good point

    • Denzel

      It would be a good idea but that’s like trying to make a bus more aerodynamic. It’s possible but it’s possible

    • PUT A CAB ON IT, MAY NOT ALWAYS BE USED BUT IF NEEDED IT’S THERE AND WILL AID IN AERODYNAMICS.

    • Toronado_II

      I think he tried so much to minimize the vehicle that he forgot the aerodynamic functions!

  • sidewaysspin

    This autonomy mania will immediately stop after the first big crash.

    • rodriguez256

      I highly doubt that, even if it had a huge accident it would still be less frequent and probable as much as human driver a human driver. That’s the point.

  • Eythan Aldrich

    headless semi

  • Nut Donut

    Truck chassis could be shorter, and tralier should be more focused on drag coefficient. Thats why it looks like designed by amateurs, not Volvo Truck engineers.

    And yes, this is future. Accept this, truckers.

    • Craig

      The future! No humans need apply! Yippee!

  • exeptor

    Disable all the AI responsible for the autonomous drive, put a racing seat, staring column and a wheel and this will be massive fun :).

  • Tostik

    The Vera is from Volvo Trucks, and the 360c concept car is from Volvo Cars. Two different organizations these days, although they share the Volvo Safety Center and both produce engines at Skövda, Sweden.

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