Volvo Reveals Production-Ready Self-Driving Truck

The Volvo VNL Autonomous uses Aurora Innovation software and hardware

Graham Hope

May 22, 2024

3 Min Read
Hero image of the Volvo self-driving truck

Volvo has revealed its first-ever production-ready self-driving truck at the ACT Expo in Las Vegas.

The Volvo VNL Autonomous is described as a “purpose designed and purpose built” self-driving truck that uses hardware and software from Pittsburgh-based Aurora Innovation.

As the name suggests, the vehicle is based on Volvo’s VNL, a Class 8 semi designed for long-haul transportation.


Volvo Autonomous Solutions and Aurora have worked together to integrate the latter’s Aurora Driver autonomous tech, which comprises AI software, dual computers, lidar that can detect objects more than 400 meters away, high-resolution cameras and radar.

According to Aurora, the Aurora Driver has been extensively tested, racking up 1.5 million commercial miles on public roads – on autonomous freight routes such as the I-45 between Dallas and Houston, for example – and billions of miles in the company’s virtual suite.

As you would expect of any vehicle wearing the Volvo badge, the VNL Autonomous has a clear focus on safety, with the new truck featuring redundant steering, braking, communication, computation, power management, energy storage and vehicle motion management systems.

While the unveiling of the truck in Vegas obviously constitutes a major breakthrough for the two companies, arguably of even more significance is what it means for future development.

Related:Volvo Company Launches Platform to Decarbonize Smart Ships, CES 2024

As Nils Jaeger, president of Volvo Autonomous Solutions, explained: “This truck is the first of our standardized global autonomous technology platform, which will enable us to introduce additional models in the future, bringing autonomy to all Volvo Group truck brands and to other geographies and use cases.”

The VNL Autonomous will be made at Volvo’s flagship New River Valley plant in Dublin, Virginia, which is its largest and most technically advanced facility in the world. It is believed that it could be on public roads within a few months, albeit with safety drivers, though neither company has confirmed this yet.

Whenever it is deployed, the long-term plan is for it to operate on a “hub to hub” model on established freight corridors, driving at all hours of the day and night, with humans taking over at starting hubs and transfer hubs to complete local journeys on local roads.

“This truck combines Aurora’s industry-leading self-driving technology with Volvo’s best-in-class truck, designed specifically for autonomy, making it a must-have for any transport provider that wants to strengthen and grow their business,” said Sterling Anderson, Aurora co-founder. 

Related:Daimler Self-Driving Electric Truck Revealed

Aurora has previously outlined its ambition to test driverless trucks by the end of 2024 and is working with other partners as part of its commercialization strategy, including Germany’s Continental, with whom it is further fine-tuning the Aurora Driver hardware and developing a fallback system.

The Volvo/Aurora unveil follows the reveal of an all-electric autonomous semi “technology demonstrator” from Daimler Truck and  Torc Robotics at the start of May, as the race to provide self-driving trucking solutions gathers momentum.

About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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