Volvo and LEGO create an autonomous concept wheel loader6/29/18
The result: The LEGO® Technic Volvo Concept Wheel Loader ZEUX set, scheduled for release in toy stores in August 2018, and the digital prototype for a real-world autonomous machine.
What started out as a fun, informal team building event to inspire The Volvo CE and LEGO® Technic design teams in 2016, gradually evolved into an idea for an actual LEGO® Technic product. Their goal: Design the construction machines of the future. And now the collaboration has led to number of potentially revolutionary patents.
Arvid Rinaldo, (Brand Communication & Partnerships) at Volvo CE, explains why it is relevant for their designers to work on futuristic construction machines with LEGO® Technic:
“We have enjoyed a truly fun and productive collaboration with the LEGO® Technic team over the past few years. It allowed us to test ideas for new types of construction machines for the future, both in terms of functionality, scale, design and interaction. This model may seem futuristic now, but autonomous, connected and electric construction machines are already starting to be a reality. The Volvo Concept Wheel Loader ZEUX is a realistic next step in the exciting evolution of our construction machines.”
Speaking about the collaboration between the two Scandinavian brands, he adds: “We wanted to cooperate with a premium toy manufacturer, just as we are a premium player in the construction equipment sector. Volvo CE and the LEGO® Group together create a perfect match, both culturally and in what we try to achieve in our products – exploring together how we can build tomorrow”
Autonomous lawnmowers and vacuum cleaners are already a familiar sight in homes around the world and are generally considered safe to be around. And as the first self-driving cars were tested on roads, the gear wheels were turning in the heads of designers at Volvo CE in Sweden and the LEGO® Group in Denmark, as they worked to find new ways to increase safety and bring a more human aspect to the artificial intelligence in big construction machines.
A focus group consisting of children helped out in the process creating the ZEUX. Looking at early drawings and models, the group gave feedback that led to the development of new, unique features. Two main features that the group decided on were the scout drone and the adjustable “camera” boom mounted on the roof of the vehicle, called the Eye. In addition to the scout drones and built-in sensors a real-life model would have, the Eye illustrates a new and inventive feature: it will show exactly where the vehicle’s “attention” is directed, which means it can make “eye contact” with humans and acknowledge their presence.
Workshops in Billund, Denmark, video meetings, and exchanges of concept sketches and sketch models allowed room to test wild ideas throughout the development process. As a result, you can see a lot of very interesting features like an extendable counterweight, raising and lowering chassis, 4-wheel steering and many other great ideas that fits all design values.
For more information please visit: www.volvoce.com/zeux