Unlike any other autonomous semi trucks concepts out there – from Daimler Trucks, Tesla or California startup Thor – Volvo’s Vera has no driver’s cabin and looks like a flat Tesla S with space for just the powertrain and the battery pack.VOLVO
Volvo Trucks, the world’s second-biggest heavy-duty truck maker behind Daimler Trucks, unveiled Wednesday its first all-electric driverless freight truck, dubbed Vera.
Unlike any other semi trucks concepts out there – from Daimler Trucks, Tesla or California startup Thor – Volvo’s Vera has no driver’s cabin and looks like a semi-truck tractor pod or a flat Tesla S with space for just the drivetrain and the 300 kW lithium-ion battery pack that gives it a range of up to 187 miles (300 kilometers).
“It’s designed to be safe, it’s quiet and totally predictable, down to cost savings,” said Michael Karlsson, vice-president of Autonomous Solutions at Volvo Trucks. “Nothing similar to what you’ve seen from us before. In fact, it’s impossible to drive.”
Although Vera was designed to haul freight – up to 32 tons – continuously round-the-clock over short distances such as in ports, factory areas and mega-logistics centers, this concept truck could well be used one day for long-distance trucking.
Atherton Research’s Take
The Gothenburg, Sweden-based truck maker’s design of the Vera resembles the 1980s Steinwinter Supercargo truck concept that eventually failed because of poor driver visibility and difficult handling.
Two problems that an automated self-driving truck will not have with today’s sensor technologies.
We believe that cabless semi-trucks, like the Volvo Vera or the Swedish startup Einride’s T-Pod and T-Log, are the future of driverless trucks, more so than current concepts from Tesla or Daimler that are based on conventional truck designs.
Indeed, why do you need a driver cabin when there’s no driver!
Jean Baptiste “JB” Su is Vice-President and Principal Analyst at Atherton Research, a global technology consulting and intelligence firm advising clients plan, build and…MORE
Author: Jean Baptiste is a Vice-President and Principal Analyst at Atherton Research, a global technology intelligence firm advising clients deliver successful go-to-market strategies.