It’s could be hard for casual LEGO fans to fathom that the brand’s trademark interlocking bricks and building elements could be used to make accurate scale renditions or real-life vehicles. To those who doubt this, we point towards the direction of LEGO Technic which has brought us such masterpieces as a Mack Truck (40278) and the new Bugatti Chiron (42083). LEGO’s been able to achieve such meticulous detail for their licensed vehicle builds by closely working with designers from the automakers themselves. Sometimes LEGO even helps with these companies in designing some of their concepts, as with Volvo CE recently, and the LEGO Technic Zeux (42081) is another testament to that.
LEGO and Volvo CE collaborated on the conception of Zeux, a planned prototype heavy wheeled loader. This was realized in a model assembled from LEGO Technic pieces, featuring a big-wheeled machine packing a digger claw. The beauty part of the Volvo CE Zeux is that it doesn’t need a driver.
Why? It’s because Zeux is unmanned. The prototype earth-mover comes with a quad-copter scout drone that acts as “eyes”. Zeux has its own sensors to determine its position relative to its surroundings, while the drone serves as a way for the machine to “see” and react to its (human) handlers.
LEGO senior design manager Andrew Woodman noted how children observers were puzzled by the notion of fully-autonomous vehicles like the Volvo Zeux, but he finds that they’re able to understand the principle behind its design thanks to the addition of the mapping drone, explaining the lack of a driver’s cab.
Volvo CE has no plans on turning the Zeux into a full-scale vehicle anytime soon, if ever at all. The resulting brick-built concept between them and LEGO will therefore be mass-produced as a LEGO Technic set, numbered 42081. Already teased by the company last December, it’ll become available this August.