Scott Young, Director of Electromobility at Volvo Construction Equipment, talks about innovation across the focus areas of connectivity, electromobility and automation.
In order to build the world we want to live in, we must continuously innovate to help drive a sustainable future. We help our customers to increase their operations and safety through innovation, with improved machine and site performance, which also benefit the environment. At Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE), we have a culture of innovation, and of course, as we live in an ever-changing world, we must continue to innovate to support our customers and our industry, and to be part of a viable solution.
As part of the Volvo Group, Volvo CE is an active participant in the Volvo Concept Lab – a joint technology communication platform which enables the companies within the Volvo Group to showcase their research and development projects. There is therefore a wealth of knowledge throughout the Volvo Group that can be leveraged. Through the Volvo Concept Lab – and through seeing what is happening at other companies in the construction equipment industry – Volvo CE can learn from diverse perspectives, and consider the best way forward in creating new solutions for customers and the industry in general.
At Volvo CE our vision for connectivity is inspired by our customers’ desire for simplicity. In a very complex environment, connected services help our customers to reduce their fuel consumption and improve the management of their assets.
Volvo CE has been a pioneer with CareTrack (our onboard system that allows customers to monitor load efficiency, number of cycles and overload percentages); more innovations will come to fruition in due course, with machine-to-machine processes, machine learning and artificial intelligence. These critical enablers will support the operation of electrified and automated machines and sites. Keeping always the customer in mind, Volvo CE believes that these new technologies should simplify and improve their daily operations, and also benefit staff safety and the environment.
Electromobility offers reduced or zero emissions from our machines, higher machine efficiency, significantly lower noise levels, and reduced machine operation cost. It offers the opportunity to incorporate functions that can better assist operators, which in turn can provide higher quality outcomes in less time and with less effort.
Of course, we understand that in some applications hybrid power systems are necessary to provide the most flexibility for the machine when there is a higher demand for power or where there is a lack of electrical infrastructure available. But overall, the future of our industry is leading towards electrification with cleaner, quieter and more efficient machines, which not only support customer success, but will also be better for the environment. Volvo CE sees opportunities in many areas for electrification of products and systems.
The development of new technologies has been relatively expensive, but the cost of energy storage systems such as lithium-ion batteries is steadily decreasing, and so this is making electromobility a more financially attractive option.
Automation is another key technology that we see as an enabler of efficiency and safety for Volvo CE’s customers. Automated functions improve machine and site performance and safety; they enable operators to work with optimal efficiency thanks to assist and guidance features which can off-set any difficulties for companies finding qualified staff, and these functions also benefit the customer by being able to remove operators from dangerous work areas.
Many customers want to learn more about innovative technologies such as connectivity, electromobility and automation, as they see opportunities to improve efficiency and meet their sustainability goals. Ultimately, we see the potential in the products we currently offer at Volvo CE, as well as opportunities for new offerings in the future.