The Swedish Transport Agency Transportstyrelsen gives Scania approval to expand the route & range of its autonomous vehicle testing on the nation’s roads.
Scania Secures Permission to Test Self-Driving Trucks
Scania was given permission to begin operating three autonomous trucks on a stretch of the E4 highway between the company’s main production site in Södertälje and Nyköping, which lies 70 kilometres to the south in February 2021. The success of that trial has now led to an expansion of the distance and parameters of the tests. The autonomous trucks will be able to drive on all types of roads. It’s a development which has delighted Scania, which has been exploring this technology for the best part of the last decade, including in mining and delivery applications.
Although mass production and adoption of autonomous vehicles are still some way off, the momentum towards this technology has only become stronger in recent years. Scania is keen to stay abreast of this development as an important part of the journey to future transport, even as questions of safety and driver redundancy inevitably arise. Autonomous vehicles are also able to go for long stretches without the need for pauses as done with drivers. That means Scania could potentially run them 24/7, but at speeds that are safer and less energy-intensive, while the vehicle’s sensors make them react quicker to road dangers such as animals. Then, instead of drivers being away from home for weeks on end, local drivers can take the wheel for the ‘last mile’ to do the actual unloading and deliveries.
The data being collected from the current Swedish tests will enable Scania to develop the machine learning to handle the widest possible range of scenarios that can face autonomous vehicles. Overall, Scania’s autonomous strategy focuses on mining, where it has already been working on several projects and also concentrating on ‘hub-to-hub’ or terminal-to-terminal applications. Hub-to-hub logistics is a market that just keeps growing, and the easier operating conditions it has compared with the complications of crowded cities make it ideal for Scania’s autonomous journey.