Volvo Trucks' electric, connected and autonomous vehicle Vera will transport goods from a logistics centre to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The assignment is a result of a new collaboration between the vehicle maker and ferry and logistics company, DFDS.

The collaboration will trial Vera in a real application, enabling a connected system for a continuous flow of goods, from a DFDS logistics centre to an APM terminal in the port, for distribution across the world.

Last year, Volvo Trucks introduced its first electric, connected and autonomous vehicle, designed for repetitive assignments in logistics centres, factories and ports. Vera is suited for short distances, transporting large volumes of goods with high precision.

"Now we have the opportunity to implement Vera in an ideal setting and further develop her potential for other similar operations," said Mikael Karlsson, head of autonomous solutions.

The aim is to implement a connected system consisting of several Vera vehicles monitored by a control tower. The purpose is to enable a seamless and constant flow responsive to demands on greater efficiency, flexibility and sustainability. The collaboration with DFDS is a first step towards implementing Vera in a real transport assignment on pre-defined public roads in an industrial area.  

"We want to be at the forefront of connected, autonomous transportation. This collaboration will help us develop an efficient, flexible and sustainable long-term solution for receiving autonomous vehicles arriving at our gates, benefitting our customers, the environment and our business," said Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS.

The autonomous transport will be further developed in terms of technology, operations management and infrastructure adaptations, before it can be fully operational. Moreover, necessary safety precautions will be taken.

The assignment is to move containers from the DFDS logistics centre in Gothenburg to an APM terminal in the port according to needed capacity. It is monitored by an operator in a control tower who is also responsible for the transport. The vehicle is suited for repetitive flows with a maximum speed of 40 km/h (25mph).

Infrastructure adaptations are part of the scope, including automated gates at the terminals.

The initiative is carried out with support from the Swedish Innovation Agency Vinnova, the Swedish Transport Administration and the Swedish Energy Agency through the strategic vehicle research and innovation programme FFI.