Volvo Trucks incorporates its first-ever commercial autonomous vehicle deal with Norwegian mining firm Brønnøy Kalk AS.
Seven self-driving Volvo FH trucks will carry along a three-mile route between an open pit mine and nearby port.
Do not be fooled by the short journey from mine to crusher: These high-tech lorries must navigate tunnels and outdoor environments without anyone behind the wheel.
"It is exciting to reach this point," said Sasko Cuklev, director of autonomous solutions at Volvo Trucks, 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 according to 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 has proved successful, and will continue throughout the year; The autonomous transportation system is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2019.
"This is a major step for us," said Raymond Langfjord, 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 marketplace."
Rather than buying individual autonomous trucks, Brønnøy Kalk is "buying a transport solution" -specifically, the shipment of limestone between two hubs. The firm pays per ton delivered.
"Global transport needs are continually 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 leader of the development of products and services to respond to these demands."
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