Volvo aims to put garbage collectors out of work with autonomous robot garbage trucks

Is Volvo trying to put garbage collectors out of work? Although it’s early stages, an autonomous robot truck is under development by the European car-maker — already a leader in the development of autonomous automobiles. They claim it will garbage collection safer. There can be no doubt that it’s impressive technology, judging by the demonstration video:

 

 

Safety is main goal

Volvo, always known and famous for safety, says the aim of the autonomous robot vehicle is to make the profession of garbage collection safer, with less in-and-out for the driver and virtually no risk of hitting obstacles.

 

Engineered Design InsiderVolvo robotic autonomous garbage truck can navigate close obstacles on roadOil Gas Automotive Aerospace Industry Magazine
Volvo’s robot autonomous driving garbage truck can make curbside garbage collection possible on narrow roads with obstructions using sensors to map out all obstacles.

 

Since the trucks will run on repeatable routes at slow speeds, only the first run will be mapped, making the autonomous programming somewhat easier than, for example, a car flying along an expressway. The concept of multiple sensors around the trucks should actually make them safer than non-autonomous vehicles, since it’s difficult for a driver with mirrors to match sensors.

It makes sense that autonomous (or semi-autonomous) will eventually be safer than a driver with mirrors in a largely obstructed truck, especially when it comes to smaller objects on the street, or sudden changes — such as a child running out on the street.

 

Engineered Design InsiderVolvos robot garbage truck start buttonOil Gas Automotive Aerospace Industry Magazine
Controls for curbside pickup.

 

Volvo is developing the technology in partnership with Renova, a Swedish waste company. Ultimately, Volvo is even looking into using small robots to actually collect the bins.

 

Engineered Design InsiderVolvo robot truck first maps the route with GPSOil Gas Automotive Aerospace Industry Magazine
On the first run, the autonomous truck maps the route with GPS and sensors.

 

Why robot garbage trucks?

The project was envisioned for Europe, where many cities have narrow streets, making curb side pickup difficult due to hard-to-navigate obstacles. Sean Brennan from Pennsylvania State University, who worked on the Volvo project, explained:

In much of Europe, there’s no curb-side pick up nor any way to do this easily. The area between the house and the street is often entirely sidewalk and/or bike paths, particularly in cities and suburbs. There is a huge market where nearly all trash collection requires retrieval of a bin down some alley far from the roadside. And the same is becoming true in big cities in the US where curb-side land is at a premium.

When we talked with Swedish trash haulers union, they could not recall any who had ever retired due to age; their job is so hard that they can guarantee that a back, leg, or arm injury will end their career (and often their life thereafter). It is this type of pain and difficulty that we are trying to solve.

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • Electricity-conducting cement could make runways, roads ice proof
  • Japanese claim breakthrough in hydrogen storage technology
  • Car sales set records in November
  • Zero-emissions vehicle strategy by 2018 for Canada with major boost to zero emissions infrastructure
  • Ontario economy set to grow based on exports, weaker dollar
  • Bombardier's Learjet 85 completes first flight
  • Ontario trade mission to Korea focused on nuclear industry
  • Airborne wind turbine will rise to new heights
  • Thunder Bay wind farm gets government approval
  • Conditional approval for Northern Gateway pipeline
  • Bombardier workers unite with company management in support of "battle" against U.S. based aerospace giant Boeing Co.
  • De Beers new diamond mine in far north among world's largest
  • Fracking study finds methane emissions lower than EPA estimates
  • Toronto company seeking to market energy storage system
  • GM restructuring goes forward with agressive job cuts in Ontario designed to save billions of dollars — at the same time they recruit new hires?
  • CAE announces flight simulator contracts worth $130 million
  • GE increasing its investment in fracking technology
  • Wind to provide 20 per cent of world's electricity by 2030: report
  • Wind energy group says PC bill is misguided
  • Detect lung cancer with a nanotech breathalizer? It works, four out of five times, could revolutionize cancer screening
Scroll to Top