Scania have shown off their newest invention – a truck without a cab. The casual observer would question the logic of such a thing; where is the driver going to sit? Is it remote control?
The answer is that there is no driver and the truck can drive itself. Of course that is a type of remote control, but you simply tell it where to go and it goes there.
Before we all start to panic and worry that these huge trucks are going to be roaming our roads, the first thing to say is that this is purely a concept at this stage. Secondly, the uses for this type of truck will be on off-road sites, such as mines and quarries etc.
“With the Scania AXL concept truck, we are taking a significant step towards the smart transport systems of the future, where self-driving vehicles will play a natural part,” says Scania’s President and CEO Henrik Henriksson. “We continue to build and pilot concepts to demonstrate what we can do with the technology that is available today.”
The ‘truck’ technology is secondary in this application – there aren’t too many bad trucks and engines these days. The key is the hardware and software to get the truck where it needs to be safely.
“We already have self-driving trucks in customer operations. However so far, they have been with room for a safety driver who can intervene if necessary. Scania AXL does not have a cab and that changes the game significantly,” says Claes Erixon, Head of Research and Development at Scania. “The development in self-driving vehicles has made great strides in the past years. We still don’t have all the answers, but through concept vehicles like Scania AXL we break new ground and continue to learn at great speed.”
Running on a renewable biofuel, Scania have not opted to go along a hybrid or battery route – one that could have brought benefits in an enclosed mining operation.
In terms of appearance, any industry professional would guess it was a Scania – even with the badge removed.