Look Ma, No Hands!

Volvo Truck develops a new self-steering truck that has proven to be a significant booster for Brazilian sugarcane growers. When using the trucks to transport the harvested sugarcane, the precision steering through the fields plays a crucial part. It helps avoid damaging the younger plants that will form the following year’s crop.

Statistically, close to 4% of the crop gets sacrificed. Young plants are often run over, in addition to being affected from the soil compacted by moving vehicles. This translates into tens of thousands of US dollars in lost revenue per season.

The self-steering truck was tested by Usina Santa Terezinha Group in Maringá, where the company’s huge fields were used as test area for the prototype vehicle from Volvo Trucks. The truck was developed to examine how automated driving can make it possible to avoid damage to soil and crops, thus boosting revenues. The potential for bigger harvests is significant — up to ten tonnes per hectare per year.

“Volvo Trucks’ solution allows us to increase productivity for the entire lifecycle of the sugarcane plant, which lasts five to six years,” explains Paulo Meneguetti, Santa Terezinha’s Finance and Procurement Director.

The driver assistance system from Volvo Trucks allows for automated steering, ensuring that the truck maintains its balance and stays exactly at its right course so that the plants are not damaged or trampled. With the help of GPS receivers, the truck follows a coordinate-based map across the fields.

Apart from that, the two gyroscopes equipped in the truck enables the precision in the steering and prevents the vehicle from veering more than 25 mm laterally from its set course. With the driver released from the demanding and tiring high-precision steering process, they will be able to put more focus on their work in a more relaxed and safe way.


This story was first featured in the Business Today magazine (July 2017 issue)


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