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Volvo and DHL Partner on Autonomous Hub-to-Hub Trucking

by Charles Choi
Volvo and DHL partner on autonomous hub-to-hub trucking. Courtesy: Volvo.

Volvo and DHL are partnering on autonomous trucking operations between freight hubs in the United States, the companies announced May 5.

Volvo’s new autonomous truck is part of Volvo’s flagship VNL model. It was developed in collaboration with self-driving vehicle startup Aurora, powered by Aurora’s Driver hardware and software platform and configured to haul freight autonomously on major U.S. highway networks.

“Today, the increasing demand for freight is outgrowing capacity and solutions must be bolder, safer, smarter and more sustainable to move the world forward,” Nils Jaeger, president of Volvo Autonomous Solutions, said in a statement. “This is more than an autonomous truck—it is the Autonomous Transport Solution, which we believe will create value for the entire transportation ecosystem, all with optimized operations that reduce emissions and increase safety.” 

The focus of Volvo’s autonomous subsidary on hub-to-hub transport—as opposed to, say, last-mile delivery to homes—is designed to serve shippers, carriers, freight brokers and logistics service providers. DHL is the first customer to pilot Volvo’s hub-to-hub program as part of the logistics service provider customer segment.

“DHL is excited to partner with a leading-edge transportation company in Volvo Autonomous Solutions. We are full-speed-ahead on the adoption of the next wave of transportation solutions including autonomous trucks and confident that global leaders like Volvo will help to accelerate their development,” Jim Monkmeyer, president of transportation for DHL Supply Chain North America, said in a statement. “We see huge potential in advanced technology solutions like autonomous trucks to address the needs of our customers around efficiency, reliability and increased capacity, which only hastened during the pandemic. But our collaboration aims higher than an autonomous truck—we hope our partnership with Volvo will help shape a safer and more sustainable future for all.”

Volvo is now working to finalize strategic partnerships with companies in the other customer segments to help Volvo understand the needs of these segments in real-world applications.

“We are built on the conviction that we can address the constraints the transportation industry faces and contribute to building a better society by offering scalable, autonomous freight capacity that can unlock new ways to move goods,” Sasko Cuklev, head of on-road solutions for Volvo Autonomous Solutions, said in a statement. “Volvo Autonomous Solutions is proud to partner with DHL, who we see as a world class transportation company with shared culture and vision of innovation and sustainability. Together we want to lead the way in the ongoing transformation that is taking place within the industry, and we will look beyond just exploring new technologies on the truck itself to ensure we develop new solutions and ways of working for the entire transportation ecosystem.”

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