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Around the world, digital technology is driving exciting new developments in sustainable transport – and Scania is at the forefront of this revolution.

Innovation at Scania

Think of an automobile manufacturer, and what do you see? Mechanical engineers in overalls working alongside robots on assembly lines? Or programmers writing code and designing algorithms? While both pictures are true to some extent, cutting-edge companies in the ecosystem of transport and logistics like Scania increasingly resemble tech businesses rather than traditional manufacturers. Today, Scania’s Research and Development department has more engineers working in software development than in mechanical design, working with the hardware.

 

This shift reflects the rapidly changing nature of our industry and the growing role that digital technology is playing in transport and mobility. IT specialists are increasingly attracted to the transport sector because they know it is an environment where their skills can have a significant impact on the world. Quite simply, transport is one of the most exciting industries for any ambitious software developer to be in right now. And if you really want to make a difference, there are few more exciting transport companies to work for than Scania.

 

Scania is driving the shift to a sustainable transport system – and digital technology is key to making that shift possible. In all parts of our business, in our markets across the world, technology is shaping new transport solutions that will help address some of the world’s most urgent sustainability challenges, from urban mobility to climate change. To support this, we foster a dynamic, entrepreneurial working culture where everyone – no matter their background – can make a contribution.

“The software engineers do the programming in the morning, and then go out and test it in the afternoon, in a vehicle, on the road. You can figure out what works and what doesn’t very quickly, and make rapid course adjustments. That is one of the things that makes working at Scania so rewarding for developers. It is hard to get that kind of short-loop feedback anywhere else.”

Claes Erixon

Executive Vice President, Head of Research and Development, Scania

Exploring the Chinese market

China has developed into one of the global leaders in the innovation of transport, but also in fintech and e-commerce. That is why Scania has an Innovation Centre in Beijing as well as a Digital Business Lab in Shanghai. Scania Innovation Centre has the vision to better than anyone else understand the future transport system in China, and the surrounding markets, through university cooperation, partnerships and collaboration with stakeholders in the ecosystem. The Digital Business Lab focuses on learning more about the Chinese market, customer needs and competitor offerings so that Scania better can build digital products and services tailored to the Chinese market. To boost innovation Scania China adopted a number of start-up processes and recently the Innovation Centre and Digital Business Lab teamed up on a five-day boot camp to develop ideas and solutions for the Chinese market, including a tool for customers to assess driver skills. The key to Scania ́s success in China is to attract and retain the right people for employment and to ensure the fast-growing company has a dynamic mix of employees with different backgrounds, ages and origins. As an integral part of this effort, Scania China has launched a broad Graduate Trainee Programme to develop future leaders and specialists. We have so much to gain from a deeper knowledge of the Chinese market – and we are ready to help ensure Scania stays at the forefront of the adventure that lies ahead.

Build, measure, learn

Laura Dal Col is a manager in Scania Autonomous Transport Research department. We caught up with Laura to find out more about her job, and what she finds inspiring about it.

Can you give an overview of your role at Scania? 

 

I manage a team that works in an area of autonomous transport known as HD maps (High Definition) and localisation. Our focus is on environmental perception, more specifically to estimate the location of the vehicle is within its environment. 

 

How would you describe the way you work in your department? 

 

In traditional manufacturing, products are developed over time in small incremental steps. But with disruptive technologies like automation, we do not have time to do that. Taking big steps and getting new products out there quickly is the only way to learn what works and be competitive. 

 

Our mantra is build, measure, learn, in fast iterations. Have a plan, but do not plan too far ahead. And try to focus on the learning part. We might not have all the answers right now, but what we can do is learn really fast. 

 

As a developer, what would you say are the advantages to working at Scania? 

 

In pure software companies, developers focus on building the framework for autonomous driving and then partner with vehicle companies to test their products. At Scania, it is different, because we have the advantage of being able to develop the software and hardware together. There are not many other companies where new software services and products can be deployed so fast. Focusing on both the software and hardware at the same time is challenging, but it gives us an amazing opportunity to learn quickly.

How do you keep the customer in mind in your work? 

 

In our team, we have a saying: “you have to create what the customer needs, not what the customer wants”. Customer need is actually the starting point for all of our work. And that comes directly from The Scania Way, and in particular our core value, Customer First. The Scania Way is part of the history and legacy of our company, but it’s just as relevant to our work in emerging technologies today. 

 

What are the benefits of working in a diverse team? 

 

Our team is very diversified in terms of competence and experience. That is very important when so much of our work is about trying out new angles and figuring things out for ourselves. Bringing different approaches and perspectives to the table is really crucial for our success. 

 

What inspires you most about your job? 

 

I honestly find it hard to imagine any job being more rewarding than the one that I have at the moment. And that is because the work we are doing is having a real impact on society. New technologies like automation, electrification, and connectivity are reinventing transport. We are building a better and more sustainable transport system – and I feel really proud to be playing a role in that.