Volvo's Autonomous Garbage Truck Reports for Duty

It's designed to be safer and more economical.

Volvo

Tesla isn't the only one fiddling with self-driving trucks. Volvo's expertise with fleet and long-haul vehicles has introduced them to the world of big rigs, and now, they've worked autonomous tech into one of their heavy-duty autos. With plans for more efficiency and improved safety, the transportation giant has debuted a driverless trash truck prototype that actually works—in every sense of the word. 

Volvo worked in collaboration with Swedish waste service company Renova to develop this high-tech truck. It's got a pre-programmed trash route set in the computer, allowing it to drive from site to site without human aid. This simplifies the collection service, enabling the onboard crew to work solely on picking up trash without having to get in and out of the truck. Volvo further supports this idea by saying autonomy will cut down on workplace injuries, both short- and long-term, preserving workers' joints and doing away with human error while driving.

Another angle is the environmental factor. As each vehicle is programmed to run its route cleanly and efficiently, emissions could potentially be reduced; this not only saves waste companies money, but also reduces pollution from the large diesel engines.

Volvo reportedly took much of its experience from its self-driving mining truck and applied it to the autonomous vehicle we see here. While many of the same rules apply, this will help the manufacturer in future projects concerning both driverless fleet operations and consumer cars.