Volvo’s self-driving loader prototype is based on a Lego model

Volvo is eager to bring self-driving technology to construction crews, but it’s taking a decidedly unusual route to get there. The automaker has unveiled an autonomous wheel loader prototype, the LX03, that’s based on a Lego model — 42081 Lego Technic Concept Wheel Loader Zeux, if you’re looking for it. The machine can haul 5 tons and can make its own decisions in a wide variety of situations, including team-ups with human workers. 

The LX03 is also uniquely modular. Volvo can make “just one or two changes” to produce a larger or smaller loader to meet a customer’s demands. It’s unsurprisingly electric and can last for up to eight hours depending on the job. It should be available for a typical workday, then.

The prototype isn’t indicative of a production model. It does represent the “next stage” in Volvo’s efforts to both explore AI and decarbonize construction, however. And there’s little denying the appeal of building a real, fully functional vehicle based on a plastic building system, particularly when it could usher in a futre that keeps humans away from dangerous and monotonous tasks.

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