Volvo CE has already given the industry a glimpse of its smart machinery, which it believes will feature in the smart cities of tomorrow. Late last year the company demonstrated two autonomous machines, a wheel loader and an articulated hauler, working in harmony at the company’s Xploration Forum in Eskilstuna, Sweden. The LX1 prototype hybrid wheel loader, for example, has the potential to improve fuel efficiency by up to 50 per cent. Meanwhile, the company is also currently developing an electric site solution which adopts the new concept HX1 autonomous, battery-electric, load carrier. Its ultimate goal is to transform the quarry and aggregates industry by reducing carbon emissions by up to 95 per cent and total cost of ownership by 25 per cent, said Dimitrov Krishnan, Vice President and Head of Volvo CE India.
While the industry might still be years away from achieving fully autonomous operations, Volvo has already introduced a range of intelligent machines services named Volvo Co-Pilot to the market earlier this year. These technologies help operators deliver higher quality outcomes in less time and with less effort, and are crucial steps in identifying the ultimate solution to autonomous operation. Such major breakthrough will bring immense benefits to the construction industry in terms of safety and efficiency.
According to Dimitrov, the possibility of accidents caused by human errors can be largely eliminated as machines become less dependent on operator skills. In future, the operator may control several machines remotely and act more in a supervisory capacity. Without the need for a cab or suspension, machines are also expected to be smaller in size and have more robust functionality. The productivity gains brought by technological advancements will be a boon to infrastructure development and the concept of smart cities is within reach.