This is not a good look for Elon Musk.
There's been a lot of hype surrounding Tesla's upcoming Semi truck, but few know that Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes, has already delivered electric trucks in the US ahead of Tesla. Volvo has also been working on an electric truck of its own, designed mainly for city use, and has even been working on a self-driving Semi called the Vera.
The Vera looks revolutionary because it completely forgoes a cab, meaning it can not be driven by a human. We initially thought the Vera was little more than a fun concept, but in reality, the self-driving truck has already been assigned its first job.
Volvo Trucks has partnered with ferry and logistics company DFDS to transport goods from a logistics center to a port terminal in Gothenburg, Sweden. The trip is only a short distance, but it is the perfect testbed for an autonomous truck like the Vera. "Now we have the opportunity to implement Vera in an ideal setting and further develop her potential for other similar operations," says Mikael Karlsson, Vice President Autonomous Solutions at Volvo Trucks.
The Vera trucks will be monitored remotely to make sure there are no issues along the route, which does include going on public roads for a short period. Volvo is hoping Vera can be a part of the supply chain and free up humans to perform other tasks besides short, menial trips between a logistics center and the port.
Vera does have a few limitations, such as a speed limit of 40 kilometers per hour (25 mph), but Karlsson doesn't see this as an issue. "Autonomous transports with low noise levels and zero exhaust emissions have an important role to play in the future of logistics and will benefit both business and society. We see this collaboration as an important start and want to drive progress in this area. Vera may have a speed limit, but we don't," Karlsson said. Volvo hasn't issued a statement on when Vera will begin its first assignment, but we can assume it will happen soon.