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Self-steering Volvo truck

Volvo Trucks has developed a new self-steering truck that can become a significant productivity booster for Brazilian sugar-cane growers.

The truck, which is used to transport newly harvested sugar-cane, is steered with great precision through the fields in order to avoid damaging the young plants that will form the following year’s crop. At present, about four per cent of the crop is lost as young plants are run over and the soil is compacted by moving vehicles. This can translate into tens of thousands of US dollars in lost revenue per truck per season.

In Maringá, an hour's flight west of São Paulo, the Usina Santa Terezinha Group produces sugar and ethanol from its own sugar-cane crops. In the past growing season, the company's huge fields have served as a test area for a prototype vehicle from Volvo Trucks. The truck was developed to examine how automated driving can make it possible to avoid damage to soil and crops, thus boosting revenues. The potential for bigger harvests is significant - up to ten tonnes per hectare per year.

"With the help of Volvo Trucks' solution we can increase productivity, not just for one single crop but for the entire lifecycle of the sugar-cane plant, which lasts five to six years," explains Santa Terezinha's Finance and Procurement Director, Paulo Meneguetti.

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