Volvo launches ‘intelligent future of construction’ prototype

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Inspired by a concept devised by Volvo CE and Lego Technic, the Volvo LX03 represents both the next stage in Volvo CE’s exploration into machine intelligence and its determination to decarbonise the construction industry.

This fully autonomous, battery-electric prototype is the first real-world example of a self-learning concept wheel loader with the brains to make decisions, perform tasks, and interact with humans. It is also the first time ever a Lego Technic model has been turned into a real machine. While not commercially available, engineers expect that valuable insights from the LX03 will feed into applications for today and tomorrow.

Meet Volvo prototype LX03The LX03 with its unique scissor frame

“We need to transform the construction industry with smart and more sustainable solutions that will have an impact on a global scale,” says Melker Jernberg, President of Volvo CE. ” The unveiling of the LX03 prototype today represents just that – and is testament to the incredible expertise of our engineers and our united commitment towards positive change. Together with the LEGO Group, we are pushing the boundaries of both technology and imagination and the result is beyond anything the world has seen before.”

“As transport and infrastructure leaders: we have a vital role to play in taking action on climate change and stepping up the pace of innovation needed to deliver on emissions targets,” says Lars Stenqvist, CTO of Volvo Group. “We believe in working with driven and creative partners who, like us, are focused on making innovation real and moving beyond just words.”

Pioneering partnership

Meet Volvo prototype LX03 - 01The prototype LX03 with the LEGO Technic Concept Wheel Loader ZEUX which inspired its creation

What started out as an exciting project between designers and engineers at the two companies, to explore the potential for future construction, evolved over time with the help of a team of smart children into the successful launch of the 42081 LEGO Technic Concept Wheel Loader ZEUX.

The LEGO Group’s Head of Product for LEGO Technic, Niels Henrik Horsted says: “Our two companies have enjoyed an extremely successful partnership over the years in which we have collaborated on several LEGO Technic models. But this is the first time we are making a real machine based on a model and not the other way around – and that is what makes this a truly unique project.”

Collaborative machines

The prototype LX03 has been built by a dedicated team of engineers, programmers and workshop technicians from Volvo CE sites in Eskilstuna, Sweden and Konz, Germany, in collaboration with the design team in Gothenburg, Sweden. It is a 5-ton wheel loader that has been developed as a modular concept, with the capability of being made larger or smaller with just one or two changes to the manufacturing process. It also shares its driveline with the L25 Electric, making it a zero emission, low-noise machine with a runtime of up to eight hours depending on its application.

Meet Volvo prototype LX03Insights from the testing of the Volvo prototype LX03 will feed into applications for today and tomorrow

It is designed to be a smart and safe worker, equipped with a brain that has the capacity to adapt to different scenarios, make decisions in real-time and most importantly collaborate with humans. It can be programmed by customers to complete heavy, repetitive or dangerous tasks, reducing the need for a human on site.

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Saul Wordsworth is deputy editor of the iVT brand - which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and Off-Highway Annual, as well as ivtinternational.com. He is a keen cyclist and lives in north London.

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