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Volvo exec plays chicken with world’s first self-driving truck in underground mine

Volvo exec plays chicken with world’s first self-driving truck in underground mine
Swedish manufacturing company Volvo released a video of an autonomous truck driving by itself through an underground mine to highlight its ability to control itself in rough conditions and what’s more, it features an executive from the company playing chicken with the driverless vehicle.

The slick video shows the specially equipped Volvo FMX driving through the bumpy surface of Sweden’s Kristineberg Mine, reaching 1,320 meters underground in the narrow mine tunnels.

The truck has no driver or passengers and turns itself as it weaves in and out of the mine’s passages before the vehicle's lights fall within the sights of Volvo Group Chief Technology Officer Torbjörn Holmström.

It stops inches away from the executive, who calmly stands in front of it.

“This is the world’s first fully self-driving truck to operate under such tough conditions,” Holmström explains. “It is a true challenge to ensure that everything works meticulously more than 1,300 metres underground.”

The video was shot under harsh operating conditions and Holmström’s main aim was to show how safe the truck is by participating in the film.

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In a statement accompanying the video, Holmström did say that the stunt made him nervous at the time.

“No matter what time of vehicle we develop, safety is always our primary concern and this also applies to self-driving vehicles. I was convinced the truck would stop but naturally I felt a knot in my stomach until the trick applied its brakes,” he said.

The truck uses various sensors as it maneuvers through the mine and constantly monitors its surroundings to avoid both fixed and moving obstacles.

The onboard transport system also gathers data to coordinate the route and fuel consumption.

Self-driving vehicles are being developed for various industries worldwide. In Singapore, a startup company rolled out the first self-driving taxi with the aim of cutting down congestion.

In the US, a robot tractor was recently revealed at a farming show and allows users to control the device by using a tablet.