Scania’s approach to innovation is based on harnessing the power of talented people within our organisation and establishing strategic partnerships with academia, industry, customers, governments and cities. For Scania, innovation and partnerships take many forms, but always have the same goal – to develop valuable solutions to our customers and society at large.
Scania’s R&D innovations are aimed at helping transport businesses achieve profitability in a way that is sustainable for society. When developing and applying new technologies, our customers’ needs are our point of departure.
The past 12 months were another intense period for Scania’s 3,800 R&D employees, with two successive launches of the new truck generation, new trials of autonomous and electrification technologies, plus further advances in connectivity, alternative fuels, buses, engines and optimised transport solutions. In 2017 Scania invested SEK 7.5 billion in R&D, a significant expenditure that reflected the continued launch of the new truck generation as well as increased investment in new technologies such as electrification, connectivity and autonomous vehicles.
Key focus areas in R&D
There is no single solution that will enable us to make the shift to a sustainable transport system, so Scania is embracing a broad portfolio of different solutions in various combinations. Nonetheless, we see the need to focus our priorities and investments on the following key areas:
Scania is making a significant investment in connectivity. Connected vehicles allow us to obtain a huge amount of valuable information in real time, allowing us to tailor services to address customers’ specific needs. Through driver performance data we develop a better understanding of each driver’s driving style, identifying where we can help them lower fuel consumption, while services like Scania Maintenance with Flexible Plans mean vehicles only come in for service when the operating data indicate that maintenance is needed. The usage of connectivity opens up for huge new business opportunities and plays an important role when fed into our R&D processes.
Autonomous transport solutions
The work with automation includes the development of self-driving vehicles that interpret high-level commands from control towers, truck platooning, virtual co-driver technologies and smart sensors that can help buses or trucks negotiate heavy traffic. At Scania we emphasise not just the vehicles themselves, but the autonomous system as a whole, where all parts work together in an autonomous logistics chain to enable an efficient transport flow.
Scania’s ongoing development and demonstrations of hybrid and full electric vehicles, electric highways and battery electric buses shows that this technology is poised to become commercial reality, bringing with it the potential for much cleaner transport.
Combustion engine technology
Scania develops engines that enable hauliers and bus companies to reduce CO2 emissions, lower fuel consumption and improve after-treatment. In the ongoing shift towards a fossil-free society, even more energy-efficient combustion engines as well as combustion engines that operate on biofuels and gas will be needed, in particular for trucks and buses in long distance transport.
The scale of the challenge of coming up with low-carbon transport solutions and the breadth of possible solutions is enormous. By sharing knowledge, experience and production, there is great potential for increased cost efficiency.
As part of Volkswagen Truck & Bus, Scania, MAN and Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus pursue intensive cooperation. An important step here is the lead engineering concept, which sets out clear principles for joint development activities within the Group. In 2017, Volkswagen Truck & Bus named Scania the lead in developing an electric powertrain for all the Group’s future distribution trucks and city buses. Scania is also leading the Group’s work on the 13-litre engine, after-treatment system, silencer, new gearbox and engine control system.
Group synergies can feed into Scania’s R&D process, boosting innovation and increasing energy and cost efficiency, resulting in solutions that create value for our customers. It also means a significantly reduced time to market.
The many shapes of innovative partnerships
Partnerships go hand-in-hand with innovation in Scania’s aim to drive the shift towards a sustainable transport system. It is key to Scania remaining agile and enables us to have an influence on the future. We are staying as close as possible to the evolving ecosystem of sustainable transport by working with a range of different organisations.
By working with public and private sector partners in an integrated way Scania believes that we can help find the shortest distance and time to a sustainable transport system. While this aim of our collaborations is ultimately the same, the point of departure varies. We think of the different modes of collaboration as Rethinking transport, Targeted shifts, Breakthrough innovations and Industry partnerships and we cross-fertilise our learning between them.