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Royal Mail Unveils New Electric Autonomous Trucks and They Are Unbearably Cute

Royal Mail Unveils New Electric Autonomous Trucks and They Are Unbearably Cute

Royal Mail, an important postal service and courier company in the UK, unveiled a new electric truck made by Arrival. The company is starting a trial today with 3 versions of the vehicle to transport packages between its mail and distribution centres around London. Paul Gatti, Royal Mail Fleet’s Managing Director, said that a successful trial could lead to a broader adoption of the technology in the company’s fleet of almost 50,000 vehicles:

“Royal Mail is delighted to be collaborating with Arrival and pioneering the adoption of large electric commercial vehicles. We will be putting them through their paces over the next several months to see how they cope with the mail collection demands from our larger sites. We have trialled electric trucks before but not of this type of innovative design and look forward to see what additional benefits they can bring to our existing fleet of around 49,000 vehicles.”

Arrival, formerly known as Charge Auto, built the trucks at their new 110,000 sqft factory in Banbury. They claim that the trucks are built using a “revolutionary ultra-lightweight composite materials that significantly reduce the weight of the vehicle and by combining this technology with Arrival’s custom built hardware, including power electronics and motors, the cost of operating has been reduced by more than 50%.”

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They say that they optimized the maximum range to weight ratio for inner city deliveries with battery packs enabling up to 100 miles of range on 3.5, 6 and 7.5 tonne trucks.

There’s a growing market for those kinds of trucks as parcel companies are starting to see the benefits of converting their fleets to electric vehicles. Deutsche Post has been building its own electric delivery vans and they recently announced a partnership with Ford to build a fleet of 2,500 bigger all-electric delivery trucks.

As for Arrival, the startup is also pursuing autonomous driving technology. They are working on the Formula E roborace championship and they claim that Royal Mail’s new trucks are “autonomous-ready”, but it sounds like the trial is more about testing electric powertrains than anything else for now.

Volvo starts to equip the FE with 350 hp engines and new axels

Volvo starts to equip the FE with 350 hp engines and new axels

The Volvo FE is now being launched with 350 hp/1400 Nm and a new front axle for axle loads of up to nine tonnes. This makes one of Volvo Trucks’ most versatile models into a strong contender even for more demanding distribution, refuse handling and light construction duties.

The Volvo FE 350 is designed for gross combination weights (GCW) of up to 44 tonnes and is suitable both as a single truck and as a rig towing a trailer. Tippers, crane trucks and refuse trucks are just a few examples of three-axle applications where the enhanced power creates the necessary preconditions for higher productivity. The D8K 350 Euro 6 engine is available with every cab option, including low entry cab, and can be combined with Volvo's I-Shift or fully automatic transmission.

The Volvo FE 350 will be offered on all Euro 6 markets. Sales get under way at the end of June and production will start in September. Additional product news relating to the FE range will be released in stages during autumn 2017.

Volvo Trucks is testing the automated waste truck

Volvo Trucks is testing the automated waste truck

Volvo Trucks, in partnership with Swedish waste management company Renovo, is testing an automated refuse truck to see how it can contribute to safer, more efficient refuse handling and create a better working environment for drivers.

“Driving a heavy commercial vehicle in an urban residential area with narrow streets and vulnerable road users naturally imposes major demands on safety, even when the vehicle’s speed doesn’t exceed a normal walking pace,” says Carl Johan Almqvist, traffic and product safety director at Volvo Trucks. “The refuse truck we are now testing continuously monitors its surroundings and immediately stops if an obstacle suddenly appears on the road.”

When the truck is used for the first time in a new area, it is driven manually, while the on-board system maps the route. The next time the truck is in the area, it knows which route to follow and which bins to empty. At the first stop with the automated system activated, the driver gets out and empties the bin as normal. On receiving the command, the truck then moves to the next bin. The driver walks with the truck and always has a full view of what’s happening in the direction of travel. A lot of research, testing and development remains before self-driving refuse trucks can become a reality. This project will continue until the end of 2017 and be followed by a full evaluation of the system.

Volvo develops a self-driving truck to work in Brazil

Volvo develops a self-driving truck to work in Brazil

As legal drama continues to surround Uber's Otto division, Volvo has quietly made progress in developing self-driving trucks. It unveiled an autonomous steering system designed for a very specific job. Volvo developed a self-steering truck to help Brazilian sugarcane farmers preserve their crops.

When it's being culled, sugarcane is transferred from a harvester to trucks that drive alongside rows of plants—but human drivers often run over those plants by accident. That destroys around four percent of the crop per season, according to Volvo. While farmers viewed this as an annoyance, Volvo viewed it as an opportunity to test out new technology. It built a prototype truck that steers itself, while the driver uses the throttle and brakes or cruise control to maintain proper speed.

The system uses GPS receivers to steer the truck by comparing its position to coordinates on a digital map. Two gyroscopes also help the vehicle orient itself. Volvo claims the system is so precise that it will not allow the truck to deviate more than 25 millimeters (0.9 inch) off course.

Over the summer, Volvo plans to deploy more self-steering trucks in order to further develop the system. It does plan to make autonomous steering commercially available "in the foreseeable future," and will continue to develop fully-autonomous vehicles as well. Like Tesla and its Autosteer system, Volvo could used automated steering as a stepping stone to full autonomy.

Like self-driving cars, autonomous trucks could have a big impact on transportation, both positive and negative. Because they are incapable of being distracted, self-driving trucks may prove safer than human-driven vehicles, and eliminating human drivers will lower operating costs. But they could also wreak economic havoc by cutting jobs, and face the same regulatory questions as autonomous cars. Even if the technology is ready, those issues need to be addressed.

The first photos of the new generation construction Scania range

The first photos of the new generation construction Scania range

These cool stuff came from Denmark, thanks to iepieleaks.nl website. What you can see here is the new Scania construction range with a daycab. Several days ago Scania revealed the new G20 sleeper cab, but this is the first time when we see the short cab of the new generation. The only thing covered is the front bumper. From the shape of it that looks like a steel construction bumper with, probably a central towing point.

The chassis has a spring suspension and an air intake behind the cab. There is also a standing exhaust system. That seems very low but the pipe next to is was taken away for transport. 

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