Volvo’s autonomous Vera hauler parks up at port

Volvo’s electric, autonomous container transporter, Vera, has undertaken its first task at Gothenburg port.

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With no cab, Vera resembles a four-wheeled sled designed to tow trailers and containers around ports and warehouses. It was first revealed in September 2018, but this week saw the powerful EV take on its first assignment, ferrying goods between the logistical centre of haulier DFDS and the APM Terminals port facility in Gothenburg.

“Now we have the opportunity to implement Vera in an ideal setting and further develop her potential for other similar operations,” said Mikael Karlsson, vice president Autonomous Solutions at Volvo Trucks.

According to Volvo, the goal is to implement a connected system of several Vera vehicles monitored by a control tower, responding to logistical demands with greater efficiency, flexibility and sustainability. The collaboration with DFDS is a first step towards implementing Vera in a real transport assignment on pre-defined public roads in an industrial area. Vera’s speed will be limited to 40 km/h during the pilot project.

“Autonomous transports with low noise levels and zero exhaust emissions have an important role to play in the future of logistics and will benefit both business and society,” said Karlsson. “We see this collaboration as an important start and want to drive progress in this area. Vera may have a speed limit, but we don’t. Testing has already started and we intend to implement the solution within the coming years.”

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Alongside DFDS and Volvo, the project is supported by the Swedish Innovation Agency Vinnova, the Swedish Transport Administration and the Swedish Energy Agency through the Strategic vehicle research and innovation programme FFI.

“We want to be at the forefront of connected, autonomous transportation,” said Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS.

“This collaboration will help us develop an efficient, flexible and sustainable long-term solution for receiving autonomous vehicles arriving at our gates, benefitting our customers, the environment and our business.”

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