The shift to autonomous transport is underway
Scania’s Autonomous Transport Solutions have been developed in cooperation with leading technology suppliers, with particular focus on mining and ‘hub-to-hub’ logistics applications. But self-driving trucks are only one element of Scania’s portfolio.
Safety, sustainability and efficiency
Automation offers dramatic improvements in safety, sustainability and logistical efficiency.
Autonomous trucks will be safer due to the fact that they will be able to carry out assignments of all distances, be it in cities or over long-haul journeys, at steady speeds. They can be on the roads at times when there is less traffic, without the need for driver pauses. There will also be no risk of tiredness or distractions diverting a self-driving vehicle from its destination, and its sensors will enable it to take safe and evasive action should obstacles such as animals be on the roadway.
The sustainability benefits are also clear. An automated truck can drive at speeds that optimise the vehicle’s fuel consumption, while also addressing issues of traffic congestion and air pollution by operating at non-peak times on hybrid or fully electric power.
And the efficiency of 24/7 transports taking optimised routes will further improve the cost/profit margins of the always-hard-pressed logistics industry.
How Scania uses autonomous trucks
- Hub-to-hub: Scania is putting a lot of its autonomous vehicle focus on the ‘hub-to-hub’ or logistics terminal-to-terminal applications. The easier operating conditions it has compared with the complications of crowded cities make it ideal for Scania’s autonomous journey.
The application of autonomous technology for this area is steadily gathering pace. With the permission of the Swedish transport authority, Scania is now testing autonomous trucks in open-road conditions in Sweden.
- Mining applications: Mines are controlled and closed environments without public traffic, but they have their own challenges of ensuring worker safety in challenging working conditions on a round-the-clock basis. In this context, autonomous trucks are an ideal, safer and conveniently effective solution. Scania has already been involved in tests of autonomous mining trucks and this area of application will continue to develop.
How will autonomous trucks affect the drivers?
It’s important to allay fears that automation will lead to mass unemployment among transport drivers.
For one thing, there is a global driver shortage that has only become more acute in recent years. Secondly, drivers will still be needed for the foreseeable future while the technology matures. Even beyond mass adoption it’s clear that local drivers will be key for the first and last mile loading and unloading parts of the hub-to-hub transport journey.
And finally, while the move to autonomous transport is underway, this is a generational shift and not an overnight, sudden change. It will take time, and the changes will be gradual in a way that will see a natural shift from the older solutions to the newer ones.
Scania’s autonomous transport solutions
Self-driving trucks are only one element of Scania’s autonomous transport portfolio. Autonomous Transport Solutions is a complete system from Scania that encompasses handling logistics, the assignment of tasks to vehicles, and information sharing between vehicles and infrastructure. Each transport solution is individually tailored to the customer’s needs. With their in-built intelligence, autonomous trucks can interpret and adapt to their surroundings and carry out pre-determined tasks.
It’s clear that the need for alternative ways to enable sustainable, cost-efficient and safe transports means that we require autonomous solutions more than ever. The shift to automation is underway, and it’s here to stay.