Volvo Presents New Self-Driving Truck

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. unveil / ʌnˈveɪl / (v) – to reveal something

    The truck company will unveil its latest model next month.

  2. capitalize / ˈkæpətəˌlaɪz / (v) – to take advantage of something

    The company capitalized on available self-driving technology to create a driverless truck.

  3. inadequate / ɪnˈædɪkwət / (adj) – not enough

    The company’s biggest problem is the inadequate number of its delivery drivers.

  4. reverse / rɪˈvɚs / (v) – to drive backward

    The driver reversed his car to move out of the parking spot.

  5. pull to a stop / pʊl tu eɪ stɑp / (idiom) – to stop moving

    The truck pulled to a stop to avoid hitting the pedestrian.


Read the text below.

Swedish vehicle manufacturer Volvo recently unveiled its newest self-driving truck called Vera.

The company’s new autonomous truck is electric-powered and features a unique design with no driver’s cab. It is also designed to carry loads up to 35 metric tons and to readily connect to a cargo container.

The company created the truck to capitalize on the growth of e-commerce and to address the inadequate number of truck drivers. Volvo foresees that the truck will be useful in settings that require the regular transportation of big, heavy loads like ports and warehouses.

To function autonomously, the truck will be connected to a control center through a wireless network. The control center interacts with the truck, which also communicates with other trucks about the coordination of routes. The center also records important data like each truck’s battery life, cargo, and location. Based on this information, the control center will determine the easiest and fastest delivery path for each Vera unit.

The driverless truck will operate along fixed routes over short distances, and it will run at a speed lower than manually driven trucks to ensure road safety.

Vera is not Volvo’s first self-driving truck. In 2017, Volvo tested a self-driving garbage truck, which drives on a pre-determined route. The truck automatically reverses along streets and stops at the exact location of every garbage can. The collector will then pick up the can and empty its contents to the truck’s container before pushing a button to get the truck moving again.

The company designed the truck to guarantee safe driving in populated areas. As part of its safety features, the truck pulls to a stop as soon as its sensors detect something in its path.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• What are some possible problems that you foresee with Vera? Discuss.
• How do you think these problems can be addressed?

Discussion B

• What other industries do you think can benefit from autonomous technology (e.g. healthcare, education)? Discuss.
• If you were to develop an autonomous technology, what would it be? Discuss.