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Tue October 19 2021

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Volvo unveils autonomous roller concept [-with video]

30 Sep Volvo Construction Equipment has unveiled the CX01 single-drum asphalt compactor concept at a US trade show this week.

The CX01 concept
The CX01 concept

The idea is for the roller compactor to be operated either by remote-control or entirely autonomously.

The CX01 concept has a single vibratory asphalt compactor drum that is actually two independent halves (a split-drum) kept upright by a self-balancing control system.

The machine is fitted with both a diesel engine and an energy storage system, making it a flexible electric hybrid solution, Volvo says. It can be operated in diesel-only, hybrid or fully electric modes.

“While the CX01 is a conceptual product, the research and development that have gone into it will benefit customers in other ways,” said Justin Zupanc, head of the asphalt compaction development team at Volvo Construction Equipment. “It’s exciting for our engineers to push themselves to develop new and innovative ideas, and we’ve had personnel from the US and Europe involved in the design, build and test phases of this concept.”

Volvo says that that a fleet of autonomous CX units would remove operators from exposure to vibration, noise and dust.

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A fleet of compactors deployed on larger jobs could work together and communicate not only between each other but also to other pieces of equipment on the site, Volvo says. The machines could survey the jobsite, report on the conditions of the mat — density, temperature and passes — and determine when and where to compact.

The CX01 can be matched with Volvo’s existing Co-Pilot system so that all work can be handled remotely via a touchscreen interface. In addition, it uses GPS position tracking to monitor job performance.

While the CX01 concept is purely a research project at this stage, some learnings could be applied to future products. Justin Zupanc said: “Remote control and autonomous operations are areas of focus for us in R&D. Also, while the low-friction water reduction coating on the drum shell is theoretical, it could be a huge benefit on larger machines to decrease the amount of water needed. It is exciting to think how the theories showcased on the CX01 could be realized on compaction production units in the future.”

Volvo CE is showing the concept CX01 machine at the Utility Expo in Louisville, Kentucky this week.

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