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

  • Manufacturing closer to stabilizing in January: report
  • Seven electric vehicle trends for 2020 — forecasts, technology, solar and autonomous driving
  • 7 Award winners honoured for championing ontario's environment's zero-waste, low-carbon initiatives
  • Breaking news: Kinder Morgan to cancel its Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline project
  • 3 billion bottles, cans and containers diverted out of landfill as deposit programs and recycling management hit new milestone in Ontario
  • Audit pans government's climate change progress
  • Car sales set records in November
  • Mexican oil and gas re-opened to foreign companies after 76 years
  • Canada's economy grew in Q4, manufacturing up in December
  • Mixed results for Canada's auto parts industry: report
  • NASA and Nissan to build autonomous vehicles together
  • Strong auto exports highlight industry's importance, vulnerability to TPP
  • SNC's Candu Energy signs international agreements
  • Regina refinery will reuse all water with GE wastewater technology
  • Final testing of Bombardier's C Series to begin
  • National Energy Board not doing enough to ensure pipeline safety: report
  • Transportation workers urge quick response to Lac-Megantic report
  • Lobby groups working hard to convince Obama on Keystone
  • 2018 Oil Price Forecasts
  • Two firsts for Ontario as energy storage systems certified
Scroll to Top