ZEUX, an autonomous concept wheel loader, is the result of a partnership between Volvo Construction Equipment and Lego® Technic. In 2016 the design teams of both companies worked together along with a focus group of children to design a construction machine of the future. ZEUX is 100% electric with an 150 kWh battery giving it three to five hours of autonomy before it has to return to its induction charging station. It has several innovative features, including “the Eye” which is an adjustable camera attached to the top of the vehicle. The purpose of the Eye is to indicate which direction the vehicle is “looking in” allowing it to interact with humans in a more intuitive way. This is a very innovative feature as often autonomous vehicles’ sensors are not visible to people. Another unique feature is a mapping drone that flies above the ZEUX to provide it with more visibility and greater planning capacity. As the ZEUX is completely autonomous it has to be able to keep its balance so the wheels are covered in sensors giving the vehicle both traction and stability.
While the ZEUX has a ways to go before being built as a full-sized vehicle, the LEGO Technic building kit is already available, foreshadowing what the future of electric autonomous vehicles could look like.