Volvo increases sugar-cane productivity with self-steering truck


Volvo has developed a self-steering truck that is increasing productivity on sugar-cane farms in Brazil.

At present, as much as 4% of young plants that form after the following year’s crop are damaged and lost, but the precise steering of the vehicle means that these are now being saved.

The driver assistance system automates steering, ensuring it maintains the right course, alongside the harvester. GPS receivers provide a coordinate-based map across the sugar-cane field for the truck to follow.

In addition, two gyroscopes mean that the whole vehicle – not just the front wheels – are steered with high precision, preventing the truck from veering more than 25mm laterally from the path set out for it.

Wilson Lirmann, president, Volvo Group Latin America, said, “With this solution we will soon be able to significantly increase the productivity of our customers in the sugar-cane industry. At the same time, we will improve their drivers’ working conditions and safety. This in turn will make the job more appealing, and make it easier to recruit and maintain drivers.”

Currently a research project, it will transition into the product development phase, with more vehicles being field-tested, with the expectation it will become commercially available in the future.

Volvo Trucks Brazil will offer its VM customers in the sugar cane industry an advanced GPS-based map-reading system later this year that gives the driver far better scope for maintaining a predetermined course, even though actual steering will still be handled manually at this stage.

June 9, 2017

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Tom Stone is Editor of the iVT brand – which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and the Advanced Lift-truck supplement, as well as, which is updated daily. Tom has met and interviewed some of the world's leading industrial vehicle OEM presidents, CEOs and MDs, and takes great pride in cementing iVT's place as the leading forum for debate within the industry, a reputation that his been built up over the brand's 25-year history.

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