As it turns out, LEGO is not only a tool for fun, but the perfect medium when workshopping concept vehicles for the future. In collaboration with Volvo CE, the LEGO Technic team has created this Autonomous Excavator Model, which – thanks to some help from LEGO’s primary users, kids – might one day become a reality.
From the mouths of babes came some very useful feedback for the engineers at Volvo CE, who were toiling over their concept for an autonomous excavator. Volvo shrunk the digger down and put it in LEGO form, to be played with by kids. They were amazed at how intuitively the kids grasped the autonomous nature of the vehicle, easily understanding the utility of the accompanying drone. In this model, the design team wanted to remove any superfluous design features. For a while, they toyed with the idea of going camera-less. But when kids asked “how do I know that the machine sees me?” they realized that a camera was a useful way of alerting bystanders that the machine was not about to accidentally excavate them, along with the terrain. The ZEUX is not a true pre-release prototype, Volvo says – but the LEGO model version is, and will be released this August.