Volvo Tests Autonomous Garbage Truck for Use in Cities

May 19, 2017

Volvo Group is working with Swedish waste and recycling specialist Renova to develop an autonomous garbage collection truck for use in urban areas.

The project explores how automation can contribute “to enhanced traffic safety, improved working conditions and lower environmental impact,” Volvo said.

Volvo Group’s autonomous refuse truck contains sensors that continuously monitor the vehicle’s vicinity. The truck stops immediately if an obstacle suddenly appears in its path. The route is pre-programmed and the truck drives itself from one wheelie-bin to the next.

Because the driver walks ahead of the reversing vehicle, the driver can focus on refuse collection rather than climbing in and out of the cab all the time, the company said.

“There is amazing potential to transform the swift pace of technical developments in automation into practical benefits for customers and, more broadly, society in general. Our self-driving refuse truck is leading the way in this field globally, and one of several exciting autonomous innovations we are working with right now,” says Lars Stenqvist, chief technology officer, Volvo Group.

“One important benefit of the new technology is a reduction in the risk of occupational injuries, such as wear in knee joints – otherwise a common ailment among staff working with refuse collection,” explained Stenqvist.

Volvo said the autonomous truck also offers major environmental advantages because gear changing, steering and speed are constantly optimized for low fuel consumption and emissions.

The joint project with Renova will continue until end of 2017. The autonomous truck currently being tested is fitted with a sensor system for identification, navigation, and monitoring of the vehicle’s vicinity.

Most of this technology is also used in the autonomous truck for mining operations that Volvo Group unveiled in 2016. That self-driving truck is undergoing tests in the Kristineberg Mine in northern Sweden.


Volvo has created a film to explain how the refuse truck works, which can be viewed on youtube.


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