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Volvo autonomous solutions unleashes first production-ready self-driving truck

In a groundbreaking moment for the future of transportation, Volvo Autonomous Solutions (VAS) has unveiled its first-ever production-ready autonomous truck. The vehicle, dubbed the VNS Autonomous, made its debut at the prestigious ACT Expo in Las Vegas, marking a significant milestone in the company's journey toward commercializing self-driving technology for the trucking industry.



The VNS Autonomous truck is a culmination of years of extensive research and development into autonomous vehicle technology by Volvo, a pioneer in commercial vehicle manufacturing. This innovative vehicle brings together Volvo's unparalleled expertise in commercial vehicles with the cutting-edge autonomous driving technology from Aurora Innovation Inc., a renowned leader in the field of self-driving systems.

"We are at the forefront of a new way to transport goods, complementing and enhancing transportation capacity, and thereby enabling trade and societal growth," stated Nils Jaeger, president of Volvo Autonomous Solutions. "This truck is the first of our standardized global autonomous technology platform, which will enable us to introduce additional models in the future, bringing autonomy to all Volvo Group truck brands, and to other geographies and use cases."

Volvo's platform-based design approach is a strategic move that will allow the company to leverage its in-house virtual driver for trucks and machines working within confined applications, while also partnering with virtual driving technologies like Aurora's for on-highway trucking applications.

Aurora, co-founded by industry luminaries Chris Urmson, Sterling Anderson, and Drew Bagnell, has developed the Aurora Driver, a self-driving system designed to adapt to a wide range of vehicle types, from sedans to Class 8 semi trucks. The Aurora Driver is a comprehensive system comprising AI software, dual computers, proprietary lidar, high-resolution cameras, an imaging reader, and additional sensors, enabling the Volvo VNL Autonomous to navigate the world around it with unparalleled safety and precision.

"Powered by the Aurora Driver, the new Volvo VNL Autonomous is the realization of our shared vision," said Sterling Anderson, co-founder and chief product officer at Aurora. "This truck combines Aurora's industry-leading self-driving technology with Volvo's best-in-class truck, designed specifically for autonomy, making it a must-have for any transport provider that wants to strengthen and grow their business."

Safety has been a paramount consideration throughout the design and engineering process of the Volvo VNL Autonomous truck. With redundant systems for steering, braking, communication, computation, power management, energy storage, and vehicle motion management, Volvo has left no stone unturned in its pursuit of uncompromising safety.

The integration of Aurora's Level 4 self-driving system into the Volvo VNL Autonomous truck has been a seamless collaboration, with both companies prioritizing the seamless fusion of their respective technologies. The Aurora Driver has been rigorously trained and tested in Aurora's virtual suite, where it has driven billions of miles, and has amassed 1.5 million commercial miles on public roads, navigating highways, rural roadways, and surface streets in diverse weather conditions.

The Volvo VNL Autonomous truck will be assembled at Volvo's flagship New River Valley (NRV) plant in Dublin, Virginia, leveraging the company's high-volume production experience and stringent autonomous quality processes to meet industry demand.

As the trucking industry grapples with a severe driver shortage, with the American Journal of Transportation projecting a deficit of 160,000 drivers by 2030, Volvo's autonomous trucks offer a timely and innovative solution. "The Volvo VNL Autonomous, powered by the Aurora Driver, offers a fully integrated autonomous solution in the hub-to-hub segment," said Sasko Cuklev, head of on-road solutions at Volvo Autonomous Solutions. "Our approach reduces complexity for our customers while allowing them to experience the benefits of an autonomous solution with peace of mind by ensuring efficiency, safety, and reliability."

With the unveiling of the VNS Autonomous truck, Volvo Autonomous Solutions and Aurora Innovation have ushered in a new era of autonomous transportation, poised to revolutionize the way goods are moved across the globe. As the industry eagerly anticipates the widespread deployment of these self-driving vehicles, the future of trucking has never looked brighter, promising unparalleled efficiency, safety, and sustainability.

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