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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

  • Industries, designers not doing enough to recycle metals: UN
  • Singapore scientists invent bendable concrete for low-maintenance roads
  • New catalyst could help bring hydrogen fuel economy closer
  • Canada's economy grew in Q4, manufacturing up in December
  • With $390 billion in trade at stake, Premier Ford met with manufacturing trade partners; says steel and aluminum tariffs hurt the U.S. more than Canada
  • Acquisition of SABMiller makes Molson Coors third-largest brewer in the world
  • Oxygen from moondust? The European Space Agency is working on an "breathable air" plants for moon bases
  • Ontario homebuilder first to offer power storage system as option
  • Engineers being heroes: helping bring much-needed water to some of the 1.8 billion people who desperately need it
  • Ontario Tire Stewardship offering $50,000 for recycle projects
  • Bid deadline today for Canada's new search and rescue aircraft
  • Ontario's electricity operator announces 16 solar, wind and hydro contracts
  • Canada's energy sector "at a crossroads," risks falling behind
  • Zinc-air battery shows great promise in search for energy storage
  • Opponents of Enbridge pipeline reversal say spill risks too high
  • Engineering positions: what's in demand, what does it pay, what do you need to qualify? Top seven engineering positions
  • Trade deficit increased in May on weaker exports
  • 21 auto parts companies in Ontario invest in new technologies with help from Ontario Government
  • Demand for industrial real estate soaring in Canada: report
  • Airbus Tests Self-Flying Taxi
Scroll to Top