Volvo CTO Trusts Autonomous Truck Not to Run Him Over
Kagan Pittman posted on September 07, 2016 |
Fully autonomous dump truck begins first-time testing in underground mine.
A fully autonomous Volvo FMX pulls up in front of Volvo CTO Torbjörn Holmström in northern Sweden's Kristineberg Mine. (Screenshot Source)
A fully autonomous Volvo FMX pulls up in front of Volvo CTO Torbjörn Holmström in northern Sweden's Kristineberg Mine. (Screenshot Source)

Autonomous cars are at the forefront of R&D for a lot of companies, automotive or otherwise—and its becoming increasingly clear that the technology will soon be within reach for widespread commercial and consumer use within the next decade or two. 

Whether its adoption will be sooner or later may be determined by a dump truck.

Volvo recently began testing a fully autonomous concept truck deep underground in the Kristineberg Mine in northern Sweden.

Volvo’s autonomous truck is part of a development project aimed at improving the transport flow and safety in the mine, where it will cover a route distance of 7 km, in not-so-spacious mine tunnels 1,320 m underground.

“This is the world’s first fully self-driving truck to operate under such tough conditions,” said Torbjörn Holmström, Volvo Group CTO. “It is a true challenge to ensure that everything works meticulously more than 1,300 m underground.”

If you watched the video above, you may have noticed that Holmström stands in the truck’s way, trusting in its ability to notice him and stop itself. Holmström seems even braver, or maybe more foolish, remembering a viral video of an autonomous Volvo car rolling into spectators.

Holmström’s stunt stresses the technology’s greater intelligence and safety.

“I was convinced the truck would stop, but naturally I felt a knot in my stomach until the truck applied its brakes,” Holmström admitted. “No matter what type of vehicle we develop, safety is always our primary concern and this also applies to self-driving vehicles.”

The self-driving truck in the video above was a specially equipped Volvo FMX.

The truck uses sensors positioned at four corner points along the truck, as well as at one at the front and another at the rear, to monitor its surroundings in real time to avoid obstacles. Each sensor’s field of view overlaps with multiple neighboring sensors to ensure greater accuracy and reliability.

An onboard transport system collects data to coordinate its route and manage fuel consumption.

This is the first time the truck has ever been tested in a real-world application.

Volvo’s goals outside of the mine include bringing the technology to live construction sites and eventually public roads if the Kristineberg Mine experiment proves successful.

For more information about Volvo and its efforts in automation, visit

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