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Meet Vera, Volvo’s Electric, Self-Driving Tractor Head

The Vera is one unique-looking electric tractor. At first glance, it looks like a ten-wheeler just smashed over an autonomous vehicle and got stuck there permanently. But look closely, and you’ll realize it’s really a very smart tractor head.

According to Volvo, Vera combines the benefits of three big technological areas–automation, connectivity and electromobility–to create optimal flows in transportation and logistical operations.

Mikael Karlsson, vice president of Autonomous Solutions at Volvo Trucks explained: “In creating Vera, we are integrating new technology, both in the vehicle and in the surrounding infrastructure, which involves a lot of testing to ensure it works together.”

Vera’s technology allows 24/7 operation, limiting lag times and increasing productivity and efficiency in operations.

“Today’s operations are often designed according to standard daytime work hours, but a solution like Vera opens up the possibility of continuous round-the-clock operation and a more optimal flow,” Karlsson added. “This in turn can minimize stock piles and increase overall productivity.”

Vera’s continuous operations not only benefit businesses, but also the society and environment as well.

It offers round-the-clock operations that could mean faster delivery times for consumer products. And since it’s an electric vehicle, expect to benefit from “reduced noise, road congestion and exhaust emissions.”

So is Vera just a concept vehicle? Or does Volvo intend to commercialize it in the future? According to Karlsson, Vera is still currently under development, with Volvo strengthening its safety aspects to give “premium experience” to its Volvo followers.

Right now, Vera is a “complement” that will increase Volvo’s offering. But who’s to say it won’t change the way ideal transports will operate when you think farther ahead?

“When we started this project, we began by putting ourselves in a future scenario and asking what would be the ideal transport solution,” he said. “Vera is essentially our way of building something that can take us into the future.”

Here’s what the Vera looks like in action:

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