Volvo Autonomous Solutions (V.A.S.) achieves industry-first milestone with the removal of the safety driver in an active commercial mining operation at Brönnöy Kalk mine in Velfjord, Norway.
The autonomous transport solution developed for Brönnöy Kalk consists of seven fully autonomous Volvo FH trucks and V.A.S.’s in-house developed virtual driver. Operating in challenging conditions that include steep inclination, extreme weather and long stretches of dark tunnels, the trucks haul limestone from the mine to the crusher.
“A long-held vision is now a reality. Removing the safety driver in an active commercial transport operation in some of the world’s most challenging conditions is a major leap for the industry,” says Nils Jaeger, Present of Volvo Autonomous Solutions. “With this milestone we are underlining our leadership in autonomous driving and paving the way for safer and more efficient future for the mining and quarrying industries.”
“This is a major step forward for us” says Raymond Langfjord, Managing Director of Brönnöy Kalk. “We implemented autonomous trucks for several reasons—safety, efficiency and flexibility. With the removal of the safety driver we can now truly reap these benefits and increase our competitiveness in this tough industry.”
A complete solution that reduces complexity
The solution implemented at Brönnöy Kalk has been in development since 2018 and represents not just a major breakthrough in technology but also provides exciting new business models. This is because rather than purchasing a truck or machine, Brönnöy Kalk is buying autonomous transport capacity from V.A.S.
“While autonomy brings unprecedented benefits to the industry, incorporating new technologies into existing operations can be a daunting challenge for many customers. By providing a complete solution that encompasses everything from software to site infrastructure to training to operations, we are able to reduce complexity for customers like Brönnöy Kalk and enable them to be a part of the autonomous future,” says Sven-Erik Gustafsson, Head of Solutions, Mining and Quarry at V.A.S.
The Brönnöy Kalk project at a glance
• The solution includes seven Volvo FH Trucks, V.A.S. in-house developed virtual driver for confined areas, infrastructure, training as well as a comprehensive repair and maintenance program.
• The trucks are used to transport limestone between the mine and crusher on a five kilometer stretch that covers tunnels and outdoor environment. The wheel loader operator uses a touch screen in the wheel loader to call the trucks for loading and to manage the operation.