ONTARIO, Calif. — Peter Voorhoeve remembers talking at a conference in Singapore five years ago about the potential self-driving trucks held for the freight industry and wondering if any of it would come true during his career or even lifetime.
Now head of Volvo Trucks North America, Voorhoeve, 57, is part of the global leadership team helping to guide the company through rapid technology advancements. Volvo has grabbed an early U.S. lead in heavy-duty electric trucks with 56 registrations for its Class 8 VNR Electric tractor. It has sales agreements that add up to 330 more VNR Electrics in addition to the vehicles in operation.
And it is pushing into autonomous trucking. With Aurora Innovation as the driving system supplier, Volvo has an initial deal to begin hauling freight with its Class 8 VNL autonomous truck prototype for DHL in Texas. For now, a safety driver will be in the cab. At some point, Volvo and Aurora plan to pull the human monitor and gain the cost-saving potential Voorhoeve discussed in Singapore.