It’s interesting, therefore, to see that Swedish car giant Volvo are testing out a self-driving truck in the Kristineberg Mine, Sweden.
The truck will cover a distance of around 7km, and reach depths of 1,320m underground as it navigates that tunnels that service the mine.
“This is the world’s first fully self-driving truck to operate under such tough conditions. It is a true challenge to ensure that everything works meticulously more than 1300 metres underground,” says Torbjörn Holmström, member of the Volvo Group Executive Board and Volvo Group Chief Technology Officer.
The mine, which is situated in northern Sweden, roughly 100km from the town of Arvidsjaur, has been in operation since 1940 and is rich in a polymetallic ore containing zinc, copper, lead, gold and silver is mined here as well as a gold/copper ore, and is mainly extracted using the cut-and-fill method and to some extent groove mining.
The trucks are equipped with Volvo FMX, and with an array of sensors is capable of monitoring its surroundings sufficiently to safely navigate the harsh environs of the mine. Data is gathered via an on-board transport system to ensure the truck takes the most efficient route, thus ensuring no fuel is wasted.
It’s a fascinating project, and you can check out the truck in action via the video below. Suffice to say, it will be a little while before such trucks are replacing manually driven vehicles, but it is another sign of the strong progress being made.