Volvo Trucks: Kid Tested, Mother Approved

If that looks like a four year old with a remote control driving a full-size dump truck — that’s because it is. As part of their Live Test Series, Volvo made a ridiculous obstacle course, and then let a four year old take the wheel of one of their heavy duty dump trucks. Viral advertising maybe — but too awesome not to share.

And don’t worry, there is a hack involved! The remote control setup in the truck isn’t that polished, and can’t possibly be a commercial “RC kit”. Which means some lucky hacker got to build a remote control system for a freaking dump truck. Consider us jealous.

Surprisingly (or maybe not), the truck seems to withstand everything the four year old throws at it. Including rolling it sideways down a hill, and of course smashing through an entire building. It’s well worth the watch and had us grinning from ear to ear.

Sure some of the shots might have been staged, but it’s still a very impressive display of just how tough Volvo trucks really are. We wonder how many GoPros they lost during the filming of this… The poor GoPro in the house definitely didn’t make it.

And why yes, you can remote control a real live vehicle using only an Arduino.

57 thoughts on “Volvo Trucks: Kid Tested, Mother Approved

      1. My dad used to drive the bigger version when I was a kid. I couldn’t reach the rim of the wheel (too high). They were called Haul Packs. They’re so huge that one tyre can crush a car like a bug. They were about 3 storeys high when compared to a building.

          1. At the time when my dad was driving these things and I was a young kid, alloys were expensive so I would assume that at least at that time the Haul Packs were almost entirely steel. Today I would assume some alloys are used but I don’t think alloys have yet reached the point were there close enough to the cost of steel that there is a cost benefit when it doesn’t need to be light like an aircraft.

            Ironically my dad drove one of these for a company that mined bauxite that is used in many alloys. Bauxite contains aluminium (aluminum).

          2. Also. See the bloke near the tyre! What would you think would happen if that tyre that holds up hundreds of tons blew and they do at random times. yeah – don’t stand anywhere near the tyres cos if it blows then there ain’t nothin left!

  1. Anyone who has ever seen a 4 years old kid and their hand-eye coordination (or rather lack of it) will immediately recognize that the little girl was there simply as an extra to make the video cute. Give a 4 years old a regular RC car and watch it being smashed into walls and what not. And here the little girl apparently managed to make some perfect turns, not to go down into that canal or even do that burnout at the end at speed – with a huge truck that has non-trivial momentum and does not react as quickly as a toy RC car …

    Cute advert, but something more believable next time, please.

    1. Not to mention the fact that the video is clearly a composite of several runs, you can clearly see the shadow of the camera rig at 1:21.

      But there is definitely much to appreciate, even if it is theatrical. Even with digital video stabilisation, IMU “magic” and gimballed camera mounts, I always wonder how many hours of piloting a drone it takes before being able to capture footage like that.

      1. Not to mention the fact that the video says it was done by professionals and Sophie was kept a safe distance away.

        Nonetheless the set-ups were great, beautifully curated and edited, I love that they kept/set up the “tech shots” with the drone getting hit, the small HD action camera getting obliterated, and the like.

      2. Also while it was rolling from the several cuts they showed, first there was no dirt in the bed (and this was at a point where no more could have gotten in, and then the showed right side up with dirt in the bed), and then after that as it drives off there isn’t any dirt again. (it was a cool video though)

    2. Am I the only one who gave his little sister the light gun while playing super mario bros to shoot the bad guys? Half the fun is making them think they are doing something.

      1. No you are not the only one. I forgot all about that until I read your comment. Parents would say, let your sister play the game with you. I didn’t want to exit my game so I’d just hand her the light gun.

    3. Going to agree, but I do have a guess as to what they might have been doing, possibly they spliced in video when she was driving for real or there was a MITM that was buffering her desired directions into safe maneuvers. There are people all around the course, that completely ruins the illusion that they simply let her take control of it, too unsafe/unpredictable. Also that lake beside the course, drive into that, video shoot is over for the day.

    4. I would go futher and say that a majority of the shots actually involve a professional driver and or a tow rig. It may even be that the automated control shown in the cab was never actually used to drive the truck remotely. This shot I think says it all:

      If this was a truck being driven by remote, or even by a driver, people would not be permitted to stand where they were standing.

      1. You can put two radios together, one in trainer mode, the master has ability to override the trainer. Let her swerve in the straightaways but aim for the house when you really need to.

        1. That’s a nice thought, that it might not be all fake but just assisted. It’s what I would try if I ran that thing, you have to respect kids a bit once in a while.

          I’m reminded now on a forum thread where guys were telling about how they had their little brother or sister play on a console together with them while their controller wasn’t plugged in and they just told them they controlled a character. And I’m still not sure if that’s real nice or if it’s a little mean/disrespectful.

      1. They had an entry on reddit or something a while ago about an 8 year old rally driver (son of a professional rally driver), who showed remarkable skills. Funny how kids can go from totally clumsy and no control to virtual wizards in a few years.

      2. Hey some kids are just much brighter.

        I tell my kids that it’s because of genes … as in who’s jeans were on and who’s jeans were off.

        They’ve grown up now – both have letters after their name now.

        Yeah but back to the jeans – I think I need to go check the chain and lock on the back fence gate again. I’m a plumber.

  2. Considering the pre-placement of the camera facing the building and not the track as the building gets smashed, and the convenient area before the finish line to do “donuts”, this was staged.

    1. Of course it was staged. The only thing that they are really trying to get across: a) their trucks are tough (which they are, and b) their steering system can be trivially hooked to a remote control motor (which it can).

      1. Why would you bother faking it? It’s not that hard to rig up a crude RC setup on a vehicle like that, and it’s much easier to to that than sort out all the appropriate safety gear to run with an actual person in the cab; Servos don’t litigate.

        1. They probably faked it to make it look real (ironically).

          I manufacturer would hook steering control into the power steering loop rather than a servo on the steering wheel.

          And if you look at said servo – while it’s the largest of the commonly available RC types, it still looks to be too small even with power assistance.

      2. Actually, in the wake of excelent and affordable RC-Systems the days of Knight Rider are over where K.I.T.T: was self driving because someone was sitting on the back seat stearing with his arms stuck through the two openings in the driver seat.

  3. Haha I love the quad getting hit. I took some damage but still flew off.
    I agree she probably was not driving it. but with practice a 4 year old COULD do this. I let mine drive my RC’s when the ESC is in training mode, she does ~ok. and she drives the 4×4 really well, with me on the petals. 4 year olds are pretty damn smart they just have to actually want to do it enough to focus.
    … seriously that was a pretty hard hit with the drone. An expensive DJI inspire by the looks of it, surly that wasn’t staged

  4. No one else noticed the title at the end that said the truck had a automatic traction control system? Doesn’t seem to work very well – if it was working, you couldn’t get it to drift like that. :-)

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