Volvo Trucks inked its first-ever commercial autonomous vehicle deal with Norwegian mining firm Brønnøy Kalk AS.
Six self-driving Volvo FH trucks will carry limestone along a three-mile route between an open pit mine and nearby port.
Do not be fooled by me for crusher: These high-tech lorries should navigate tunnels and outdoor environments without anyone behind the wheel.
"It is exciting to reach this point," Sasko Cuklev, director of autonomous solutions at Volvo Trucks, said in a statement.
"By working in a confined area on a predetermined route, we can find out how to get the best out of the solution and tailor it specific customer needs," he continued. "This is all about collaborating to develop new solutions, providing greater flexibility and efficiency as well as increased productivity."
Initial testing is successful, and will continue through the year; The autonomous transportation system is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2019.
"This is an important step for us," Raymond Langfjord, managing director of the mine, said.
"We are continuously looking to increase our efficiency and productivity long-term," he continued. "Going autonomous will greatly increase our competitiveness in a tough global market."
Rather than purchasing individual autonomous trucks, Brønnøy Kalk is "buying a transport solution" -specifically, the shipments of limestone between two hubs. The firm pays per ton delivery.
"Global transport needs are continuously changing at a very high pace and the industry is demanding new and advanced solutions to stay ahead," according to Volvo Trucks President Claes Nilsson. "Our aim is to be the development of products and services to respond to these demands."
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