Photo courtesy of Volvo Group

Photo courtesy of Volvo Group

Volvo Group and Swedish waste and recycling specialists Renova are testing an autonomous refuse truck that has the potential to be used in an urban environment. The project explores how automation can contribute to enhanced traffic safety, improved working conditions, and lower environmental impact, according to Volvo.

The autonomous refuse truck is designed to make driving safer. Sensors continuously monitor the vehicle’s vicinity, and the truck stops immediately if an obstacle suddenly appears in its path. The route is pre-programmed, and the truck drives itself from one bin to the next. The driver, who walks ahead of the reversing vehicle, can focus on refuse collection and does not have to climb into and out of the cab every time the truck moves to a new bin. This could reduce the risk of occupational injuries, such as wear in knee joints common among refuse truck workers.

The autonomous truck also offers environmental upsides. Gearchanging, steering, and speed are constantly optimized for low fuel consumption and emissions, according to Volvo.

The truck uses technology from the autonomous truck for mining operations that Volvo Group unveiled in 2016. The joint autonomous refuse truck project with Renova will continue until end of 2017.