Volvo Trucks said a project to develop a self-steering truck in the Usina Santa Terezinha Group's sugar cane fields in Maringa, Brazil, has been a success, and the project's next step is to transition to the product development phase.
The truck was developed for use in transporting newly harvested sugar cane. Currently, the driver must not only focus on pacing the harvester, but also maintain the truck's position in the tracks to avoid running over nearby plants.
“With the help of Volvo Trucks’ solution we can increase productivity, not just for one single crop but for the entire lifecycle of the sugar-cane plant, which lasts five to six years,” Santa Terezinha Finance and Procurement Director Paulo Meneguetti said in a release.
By using GPS technology to keep the truck in position as the driver maintains its speed in relation to the harvester, the truck can maintain a constant course and avoid damaging the plants. The system limits the truck from veering more than nearly an inch off its preset course. The increased harvest could be significant increase to 11.02 tons per 2.47 acres, the release said.
“With this solution we will soon be able to significantly increase the productivity of our customers in the sugar-cane industry," Volvo Group Latin America President Wilson Lirmann said in the release. "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.”