A Glimpse into the Future of Trucking

A Glimpse into the Future of Trucking

The Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Conference in Las Vegas offered a glimpse into the future of trucking this week, with a number of OEMs showing off their latest technological advancements.

The event is one of the biggest in global trucking, with more than 500 exhibitors across the world of transport showcasing what they have to offer.

Volvo was particularly busy at the event, launching its first ever autonomous truck model.

The new Volvo VNL Autonomous was developed in partnership with Aurora Innovation, which created the autonomous technology inside the truck.

It is currently slated for use across the United States, with a view to expand distribution worldwide.

“We are at the forefront of a new way to transport goods, complementing and enhancing transportation capacity, and thereby enabling trade and societal growth,” says president of Volvo Autonomous Solutions Nils Jaeger.

“This truck is the first of our standardised global autonomous technology platform, which will enable us to introduce additional models in the future, bringing autonomy to all Volvo Group truck brands, and to other geographies and use cases.”

Image: Volvo Trucks

Key behind the development of the truck has been the safety solutions included within it. Volvo says that it is working to the ‘industry’s capacity constraints’ as safely and sustainably as possible.

The VNL Autonomous includes redundant steering, braking, communication, computation, power management, energy storage and vehicle motion management systems.

“Our platform engineering approach prioritises safety by incorporating high-assurance redundancy systems designed to mitigate potential emergency situations,” says chief product officer Shahrukh Kazmi.

“We built the Volvo VNL Autonomous from the ground up, integrating these redundancy systems to ensure that every safety-critical component is intentionally duplicated, thereby significantly enhancing both safety and reliability.”

Hino meanwhile launched its new zero emissions truck brand, Tern (pictured at top), in a $3 billion partnership with zero emissions technology company Hexagon Purus.

They also unveiled the inaugural vehicle model in the RC8 battery electric Class 8 tractor.

The semi-tractor uses Hexagon Purus’ years of zero-emissions drivetrain development for heavy-duty trucks and represents a different option for fleets.

The new long-term agreement between Hino and Hexagon is valued at nearly $3 billion will see Tern deliver a seamless transition to electrification for the US’ commercial vehicle sector.

The new vehicles will be manufactured in Hexagon Purus’ new facility in Dallas, Texas, with the RC8 scheduled for serial production later this year.

The model is built on Hino’s XL Series 4×2 chassis and is equipped with Hexagon’s zero-emissions technology, including proprietary battery systems, auxiliary modules and power modules.

The vehicle uses a US assembled Hino chassis, an e-Axle from Dana and Panasonic Energy battery cells.

“Tern RC8 delivers the comfort, reliability and safety that drivers and fleets want, and it’s purpose-built to be a very practical truck for operators integrating zero-emission trucks into their fleets,” Hexagon Purus CEO Morten Holum says.

“We are excited to introduce a truck that embodies the endurance and efficiency of the Arctic Tern, renowned for its light weight and long migratory journey – a trusty companion you can always rely on.”

And Volvo also announced a joint venture with Daimler Truck, which will see the pair developed a new software-based vehicle platform.

The new company is intended to be a 50/50 JV headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, with the two major commercial vehicle companies reaching a preliminary agreement.

The intention is to create a new standardised hardware and software that will enable both Volvo and Daimler, as well as other potential partners, to provide differentiating digital vehicle features for its products.

The JV will operate as an independent entity and Volvo and Daimler will continue to be competitors in all other areas of business, but the cooperation on digital technology development will become even more vital to best meet objectives.

“Volvo Group and Daimler Truck are two individually great companies. Now we are combining our forces to accelerate the customer benefits that a software-defined truck platform will bring,” Volvo Group president and CEO Martin Lundstedt says.

“Given the rapid transformation of our industry, it makes sense to collaborate to accelerate development, increase volumes and share cost. Software-defined heavy-duty trucks represent a paradigm shift in the transformation of our industry.

“Making the truck a programmable device with standardised hardware and operating system for fast product updates will give both companies the opportunity to create value for our customers and their customers though differentiating digital services and solutions. Partnership is truly the new leadership.”


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