Self-driving trailers without drivers on public roads - soon reality in new SAFER project
SAFER continues to expand its project portfolio with research for safer transports through automation. In this project, iDolly, researchers from Chalmers and Volvo Group, in collaboration with several other companies, will develop technologies for transporting containers on public roads, completely autonomous, without drivers.
Half an hour's drive on the highway east of Gothenburg Viared Industrial Park is located. Within soon, self-driving trailers will drive from the transhipment terminal to the various companies in the industry park. The truck trailer will be transported without a driver by means of a so-called dolly.
A dolly can be connected to the front of a trailer and hence give the trailer a front axle. In this case, the dolly is equipped with its own electric motor, different types of sensors and an advanced control system. This allows the carriage to drive autonomous, without a human driver. In other projects, SAFER has used a dolly to link trailers to allow for extremely long, and efficient, freight transports. Now, a new, even more advanced, dolly will be developed that will be used to investigate whether it is possible to transport containers shorter distances on public roads without a human driver.
Many advantages of automated transportation
Road safety in the industrial park and at the terminal is expected to increase with a driverless dolly since the technical systems are likely to be a better driver than an average driver. Since the dolly is powered electrically, the local emissions of exhaust gases will also be completely eliminated. The cost will also be lower as no driver is required. This also means that the transport can be carried out at any time of the day without affecting the cost.
Advanced tests at SAFER's infrastructure
The tests will be conducted at AstaZero test track and at Viared Industrial Park. A truck with double trailers, coupled with a dolly, runs the goods from the port in Gothenburg. At the transshipment center in Viared, the dolly and the rear trailer are disconnected. The disconnection is also planned to be carried out automatically. The automated dolly will then drive the goods to the customer in Viareds Industrial Park. SAFER's research infrastructure, the vehicle lab Revere, will be responsible for planning and carrying out the tests, which are scheduled to start in the fall of 2019. Fredrik Von Corswant, SAFER’s Infrastructure Manager, explains more about the project:
"The project is very exciting, we may be the first to carry out tests with completely driverless trailers on public roads in Sweden".
The project includes SAFER's partners Volvo Group and Chalmers as well as VBG, Ellos, Kerry Logistics, Speed Group and Borås City.
The project is partly financed by Vinnova and is ongoing between 2018 and autumn 2020.