The quarry of the future
Swisscom helps Holcim and Volvo with driverless dumper trucks
Swisscom helps Holcim and Volvo to test the quarry of the future
The deployment of battery-powered, driverless dumper trucks monitored using mobile technology is nothing short of an environmental revolution for the logistics industry. Cutting-edge technologies ensure that Holcim can take rapid strides towards the achievement of its net-zero target for renewable energies and climate-friendly logistics.
The wheel-loader driver tips the final bucketload of limestone onto the dumper truck, which then drives away – unmanned, battery-powered, autonomous. This futuristic-sounding project is not based near Silicon Valley, but in rural Villigen in the canton of Aargau. The use of electric dumper trucks is part of Holcim’s digitisation initiative Plants of Tomorrow.
Controlling autonomous vehicles
The mobile private network used by Holcim deploys the latest mobile communication technology to monitor and control the autonomous e-vehicles. By specifically allocating the available resources to Holcim, Swisscom ensures that critical business processes operate as smoothly as possible. Swisscom’s MPN provides a bridge from the mobile network to the customer’s LAN. Holcim’s control centre always has the latest vehicle data, and this forms an important piece of the safety puzzle in the quarry.
The mobile data from the MPN is carried swiftly and securely through a separate D channel via Swisscom’s mobile core to the customer’s LAN, where it can be processed. The customer specifies who or which devices have access to the private network’s capacity.
A mast for sustainability
When the technology for the prototype was initially implemented in Villigen, the connectivity was measured. It was immediately clear that the existing mobile communications mast would need to be upgraded and modernised. To ensure that the autonomous dumper trucks fitted with SIM cards could be video monitored at all times, Swisscom and Holcim decided to build a second mast in the limestone quarry. Swisscom’s investment was motivated not only by operational stability but also by the sustainability of the project. Swisscom wants to help its customers with climate-friendly, innovative ICT solutions that will save 1 million tonnes of CO2 by 2025. The Holcim/Volvo project for battery-powered electric dumper trucks, which are both quieter and safer than conventional dumper trucks, is a sustainability first for the sector.
Swisscom StartUp Challenge 2022: Sustainability
Swisscom is currently on a global quest to identify start-ups and research teams whose climate protection and energy efficiency solutions contribute to the reduction of CO2. For more information and to register for the 10th Swisscom StartUp Challenge, click here.
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