In 2017, Volvo Group tested a pioneering autonomous refuse truck that has the potential to be used across the urban environment. The project explored how automation can contribute to enhanced traffic safety, improved working conditions and lower environmental impact.
The truck is designed to make driving safer in built-up areas, particularly when reversing. Sensors continuously monitor the vehicle’s surroundings, and the truck stops when obstacles are identified. The route is pre-programmed, and the truck drives itself from one wheelie-bin to the next.
Since gear-changing, speed and steering are constantly monitored and optimised by the system, one environmental upside is lower fuel consumption and emissions.
Autonomous refuse trucks also give benefits to operators, as the decreased need of walking from cab to compactor and back again on a repetitive basis means fewer workplace injuries such as knee and joint pain.