Volvo Trucks has signed a landmark agreement with Brønnøy Kalk AS in Norway to provide its first commercial autonomous solution transporting limestone from an open pit mine to a nearby port.
The solution for Brønnøy Kalk AS consists of limestone being transported by six autonomous Volvo FH trucks on a five kilometer stretch through tunnels between the mine itself and the crusher. Tests of this solution have been carried out successfully and will continue throughout 2018 to become fully operational by the end of 2019.
The agreement follows recent successful automation projects involving mining, sugar cane harvesting and refuse collection. Yet this commercial solution represents an exciting first for Volvo Trucks. Rather than purchasing autonomous trucks, Brønnøy Kalk is buying a transport solution—specifically the transport of the limestone between the two hubs.
This is an important step for us. The competition in the industry is tough. We are continuously looking to increase our efficiency and productivity long-term, and we have a clear vision of taking advantage of new opportunities in technology and digital solutions. We were searching for a reliable and innovative partner that shares our focus on sustainability and safety. Going autonomous will greatly increase our competitiveness in a tough global market.—Raymond Langfjord, Managing Director of the mine
The agreement involves a deal whereby the customer buys a total transport service and pays per tonne delivered.