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Volvo Construction Equipment provided customers and members of press with a sneak peak of its prototype autonomous wheel loader and articulated hauler at the Xploration Forum which took place in Eskilstuna, Sweden between 9-14 September 2016
The prototype wheel loader filled the prototype articulated hauler – before transferring its load to its destination and repeating the cycle. Testing of the machined revealed that the autonomous wheel loader could reach the equivalent of 70 per cent of that of a skilled operator’s productivity levels when loading and unloading. This was not just for demonstration as the machine has also been used in a project for a Volvo Construction Equipment customer at an asphalt plant in Sweden.
“The demonstration machines were programmed to work together and carry out a specific set of actions on a pre-defined route,” said Jenny Elfsberg, director of emerging technologies at Volvo Construction Equipment.
“The machines can perform the same task over and over again, along a fixed route, for a relatively long period of time. But it’s still early days for this technology, we are working on developing solutions that have the required safety and performance levels that the market will accept," added Eflsberg.
The project, which was spread over 10 years, looks at futuristic technology such as autonomous machines, which is fueling the development of mid-term innovations at the company.
Commenting of the benefits of the machines Eflsberg stated, “Autonomous machines will increase safety in hazardous working environments and eliminate the possibility of accidents caused by human error,” said Elfsberg.
“They will also perform repetitive tasks more efficiently and precisely than a human operator and, because machines will be operated in the most efficient way, customers will benefit from improved performance, productivity, fuel efficiency and durability," added Elfsberg.