The life of a “secret agent”

The life of a “secret agent”

For field test drivers like ­Steve Pope, dealing with ­secrecy and spies is a part of everyday life.

The field tests for the new generation Scania truck represented a major challenge. Advanced masking techniques and far-reaching organisational preparations were required to keep the vehicle’s identity, styling and new features under wraps.

“We have used more heavy duty masking than with previous launches,” says Anders Karlqvist, who is responsible for Scania’s extensive field testing activities. “It should be possible to drive past one of our field-test trucks and, maybe, wonder what kind of truck it was. But it shouldn’t immediately draw attention to itself.”

For Steve Pope, security around the vehicle was one of his most important day-to-day issues. The assignment was particularly sensitive, due to the United Kingdom’s large population, heavy traffic and numerous truck spotters constantly on the look-out for new trucks.

“I have to plan all my runs very thoroughly,” says Pope. “When I park for the night, the first thing I do is draw black curtains around the entire cab so that no-one can see in or take pictures of the new interior. The same applies when I stop to fill up or to eat. I can’t stop all the curious people, but then the truck is quite ingeniously masked.”

Occasionally Pope got questions from other drivers about the strange truck he is driving. The masking have given some people an impression of heavy ”armour”.

“I tell some of them that I’m driving a special vehicle for the Royal Mint,” Pope says. “Others have been told that the truck is equipped with radiation protection or that it’s equipped with sensors for filming and digitising footage for use within different TV and computer games…”

Read more about Steve Pope and his job here»