When talking about autonomous vehicles in industry, most people think of the mining industry. The value of autonomous transport has been proven in multiple mining sites around the world. But their value is not limited to iron mines in the desert. Autonomous trucks are proving their value in many different environments, including ports.
Volvo has a new (and surprisingly attractive) driverless truck called the Vera that is soon to be deployed in the Port of Gothenburg . It looks like a curvilinear racing car designed for Le Mans in 1965, with the notable exception that there is nowhere for a person to sit. The truck can carry heavy loads at up to 24 mph with very high precision. And as the trucks are electric, the emissions are practically zero.
The trucks will operate as land-based tugboats, moving large loads into small spaces nimbly and efficiently. The technology is very appealing. But turning exciting technology to something operationally viable has significant challenges, particularly on the human side.
As mining companies have learned, operating autonomous vehicles in the same zone as driver-operated vehicles—and even pedestrians—is risky by definition. Autonomous vehicles work best in a controlled environment with a tightly defined rule set. (And as all of us who drive on ordinary streets know, pedestrians and driver-operated cars do not behave in a predictable manner.)
Taking advantage of the autonomous opportunity while getting the most out of your existing people requires a rigorous approach to what we call ‘wiring’ – the systems, processes, staff, skills, behaviours and norms of an organisation that determine how it will behave and the way things are done. Ensuring the right wiring is in place is all about defining what good looks like, how you manage day-to-day, getting the incentives right and all the other norms that make sure the right things get done to move the needle forward.
Partners in Performance has unparalleled experience in getting wiring right. Can we help you take advantage of the autonomous opportunity?