Volvo Trucks and Swedish waste management company Renova are testing an automated waste collection truck to see if it can contribute to safer, more efficient refuse handling and create a better working environment for drivers.
The first time the automated refuse truck is used in a new area, it is driven manually while the on-board system constantly monitors and maps the route with the help of sensors and GPS technology. The next time the truck enters the same area, it knows exactly which route to follow and at which bins it has to stop.
When the automated system is activated, the driver climbs out of the cab and empties the bin in the same way. When the operation is completed, the truck automatically reverses to the next bin upon receiving the driver's command. The driver walks the very same route that the truck takes to have a full view of what's happening in the direction of travel.
"By reversing the truck, the driver can constantly remain close to the compactor unit instead of having to repeatedly walk between the rear and the cab every time the truck is on the move. And since the driver doesn't have to climb in and out of the cab at every start and stop, there's less risk of work related injuries such as strain on the knees and other joints," says Hans Zachrisson, Strategic Development Manager at Renova.
Since the automated systems optimise gear changes, steering and speed, fuel consumption and emissions can also be reduced.