Volvo’s new self-steering truck is changing the Brazilian sugar-cane harvest with precision steering through the fields to avoid damage to young plants that will grow into next year’s crop. Currently, growers face a four percent loss each season as plants are run over by vehicles, meaning each of these trucks has the potential to save tens of thousands of U.S. dollars each year.
“With the help of Volvo Trucks’ solution we can increase productivity, not just for one single crop but for the entire lifecycle of the sugar-cane plant, which lasts five to six years,” explains Santa Terezinha’s Finance and Procurement Director, Paulo Meneguetti.
The automated truck eliminates the need for the driver to concentrate fully on following the harvester at exactly the right speed and directly in its tracks by using GPS receivers to follow a coordinate-based map through the field. Two gyroscopes keep the entire vehicle no more than 25 mm off course.
The project is being field tested this summer, with a commercially available solution to follow soon.