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Volvo is taking its commercial truck business autonomous. Last week, the company announced that experimental self-driving trucks will lug stone from a Norwegian rock quarry to a port where the raw materials are shipped elsewhere.
The agreement between Volvo Trucks and Brønnøy Kalk AS will see six self-driving trucks move limestone from a quarry to a nearby port. It’s the first agreement of its kind for Volvo Trucks and a unique one at that. Rather than Brønnøy Kalk AS purchasing the trucks for its business, Volvo Trucks will be paid for the service. Charges will incur for every ton of limestone delivered from the quarry to the port. Along the way, the self-driving trucks will tackle five kilometers (about 3.1 miles) of travel before they reach the port.
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Raymond Langfjord, Managing Director of the mine, said the new service is a game-changer for the business and imagined it will help increase efficiency dramatically. And it’s needed as the market goes more global and competition increases for the Norwegian mine.
The trucks will have an onboard operator should anything go wrong, but Volvo Truck is confident the vehicles will have no issues making their way through tunnels, the mine itself, and out to the nearby port.
Volvo said tests are ongoing at the quarry and each has been carried out successfully. They’ll continue through the end of 2019 before the new service goes fully operational.
Lime, best known for bicycle and scooter rentals, wants to try its hand at the car-share business. The company will launch a fleet of Fiat 500 models across Seattle in a bid to expand its business.
The company announced the car-share service will begin this week with the Fiat 500s spread out across the city. Lime users will see the cars marked as icons on the company’s smartphone app. They won’t be difficult to miss since Lime has branded and painted them white with various shades of lime green.
Lime has operated bike sharing in Seattle for just over a year, and recently tried to launch a scooter sharing service in the city. Local officials blocked the launch for the scooter business, but did so for every company—not just Lime. Pete Dempster, the program manager of LimePod, said most customers take trips that are just three miles long, which provides ample opportunity for the company. The service won’t break the bank, either. A Lime car will cost $1 to unlock and 40 cents per mile driven.
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Customers can unlock the cars via the smartphone app; no key is necessary.
Lime even covers paid parking for those who rent out one of its 500s. The company inked a deal with the city to cover up to $1,730 per car, per year. Lime plans to launch about 500 cars in Seattle.
The company isn’t alone in recognizing different needs in urban environments. General Motors launched its Maven mobility service that also rents out vehicle via a car-share service. It has since expanded to include long-term rentals for freelance workers and peer-to-peer car sharing.