Future earthmoving innovation from Volvo CE
First publishedin World Highways
The firm has unveiled its concept HX1 autonomous, battery-electric, load carrier and the LX1 prototype electric hybrid wheeled loader
Volvo CE is working on radical new concepts for earthmoving and extraction applications - Guy Woodford reports
Volvo CE recently showcased a range of futuristic concepts and innovations from electromobility to intelligent machines and total site solutions at the company’s Xploration Forum in Eskilstuna, Sweden. Hundreds of Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) customers, members of the international press, government representatives and academics were given an exclusive look at a host of ground-breaking technology that has the potential to transform the construction and quarrying sectors. According to Volvo CE, these innovative prototypes could cut running costs, boost output and improve working safety for customers.
Highlights of the Xploration Forum included the unveiling of the LX1 prototype hybrid wheeled loader – a machine with the potential to improve fuel efficiency by a claimed up to 50%; demonstrations of a prototype autonomous wheeled loader and articulated hauler working together; and an electric site solution that showcased the new concept HX1 autonomous, battery-electric, load carrier.
The electric site project aims to transform the quarry and aggregates industry by reducing carbon emissions by up to 95% and total cost of ownership by up to 25%. All of the innovations shown at the Xploration Forum are ongoing research projects so these are not commercially available at this stage.
“In line with the Volvo Group’s vision to be the most desired and successful transport solution provider in the world, Volvo CE is committed to contributing to sustainable development,” said Martin Weissburg, Member of the Volvo Group Executive Board and President of Volvo CE. “At Volvo CE we are developing technologies connected to electromobility, intelligent machines and total site solutions that will benefit our customers and the environment by contributing to increased machine performance, productivity, efficiency, safety and sustainability.
The firm has developed prototype autonomous wheeled loader and articulated hauler machines
“Volvo CE is at the forefront of technological development,” he continued. “Each year, the Volvo Group invests billions of Swedish Kronor in research and development to drive the evolution of new innovations. Although this technology may be years away from – or may never enter – production, it will undoubtedly influence our future offering and has the potential to transform the construction industry as we know it. The progress our engineers are making is exciting.”
The Xploration Forum was designed to underscore the company’s position as the innovation pioneer of the construction equipment industry. “We’ve set ourselves four key technology challenges that we call Triple Zero and 10x: zero emissions, zero accidents, zero unplanned stops and 10x higher efficiency,” explained Weissburg. “We believe that our clear focus on electromobility, intelligent machines and total site solutions will help us achieve these ambitious goals and pave the way for a sustainable construction industry.”
The firm believes that its Zero emissions machines will help make customers’ businesses more environmentally sustainable. Safety is another priority for Volvo CE and with pioneering safety innovations, machines could instinctively avoid accidents – generating a completely safe working environment.
Maximising uptime and reducing the risk of breakdowns could boost productivity and cut running costs for customers. The firm is working on machines that can predict and plan their own maintenance, making unplanned stops a thing of the past. Improved efficiency is another goal as the electrification of construction equipment and site optimisation will dramatically reduce energy consumption.
The innovations shown at the Xploration Forum were presented under the umbrella of ‘Volvo Concept Lab’ – a new Volvo Group initiative. From now on, Volvo-branded companies within the Volvo Group will showcase their research and development projects under this technology communication platform. “At the Volvo Group we want to show our customers, journalists, government representatives and members of the public the exciting projects we’re working on,” said Weissburg. “Volvo Concept Lab will showcase ideas, innovations and collaborations that could potentially lead to future products and solutions – exactly like those Volvo CE presented at the Xploration Forum.”