The world of autonomous driving is slowly turning from an idea to a reality right now, as car companies are moving towards developing a self-driving car that can hit the markets for public use anywhere in the near future.
But, what about a self-driving garbage truck?
It seems that Volvo is currently working hard at producing an autonomous garbage truck, using the same technology that has gone into a self-driving truck used in a Sweden mine just this last year.
Partnering up with Renova, a waste management organization in Sweden, the two companies are collaborating on the project. The idea is that the truck will be driven manually to an area, with GPS sensors to figure out the route it will need to take. Once in the area, the truck will know when to go and when to stop. The truck will also be able to switch from self-driving to manual mode, if need be. In fact, after an operator dumps garage into the back, a command can be issued to the truck to get the next bin … with the worker simply following along.
Additionally, MSN reported that the self-driving truck will work in reverse, rather than forward, and its sensors will help indicate if a stop is needed, or any other obstacle that will require it to stop.
Still, the reverse direction might not be the best idea for every circumstance and Volvo is looking into a resolution for this. As the vehicle will have sensors and cameras equipped, Volvo stands behind the idea that it will be safe to drive in any direction.
What’s the motive behind a self-driving garbage truck? To decrease the strain for garbage operators who need to move from the compactor to the cab. It will also decrease the need for fuel and general tailpipe emissions as it is said to optimize gear changes, steering, and speed.
The autonomous pilot project will run until the end of this year. It may take years for it to be ready, but at the end of the day, it seems like it is a huge technological step in the right direction.