Volvo tests self-driving truck at underground mine in Sweden

Volvo tests self-driving truck at underground mine in Sweden

The Volvo Group has fully tested its first self-driving truck at underground operations at the Kristineberg mine in northern Sweden.

Owned by metals firm Boliden, Kristineberg is the oldest in operation in the area where polymetallic ore containing gold, silver, zinc, copper, lead and a gold/copper ore is mined.

Four self-driving Volvo FMX trucks will be tested at the mine over the next year and a half.

The goal is to explore how the technology can contribute to safe and productive transport in tough, geographically limited applications.

The first self-driving truck, once operational, will cover a distance of seven kilometres, reaching 1,320m underground.

Torbjörn Holmström, Volvo Group chief technology officer said: “This is the world’s first fully self-driving truck to operate under such tough conditions. It is a true challenge to ensure that everything works meticulously more than 1,300 m underground.”

Volvo believes that the trucks will not only increase productivity within the general transport industry, but decrease the environmental impact and increase operational safety.

Johan Tofeldt, Volvo Group automation group leader said the project will start at the underground mine with a longer-term goal to move to construction sites aboveground and finally, to public roads.

“We are building a technology platform, rather than a special functionality solution,” he said.