Swedish truck maker Scania has finalized a deal with a Finnish fleet to begin testing platooning technology on Scandinavian highways, the company has announced.
Scania is owned by Volkswagen and has been a European leader in truck platooning technology, which uses advanced vehicle safety systems, wireless communications, and autonomous vehicle controls to allow long-haul tractor-trailers to travel in convoy formations with decreased following distances to boost fuel economy thanks to increased vehicle aerodynamics.
According to reports, Scania has signed an agreement with Ahola Transport to use both Scania trucks and autonomous vehicle technology to test semi-autonomous platooning operations involving three or more vehicles on public roadways. According to reports, the first vehicle will be operated in cruise mode with a human driver steering. All the following trucks in the platoon will be operated under full autonomous control with human drivers monitoring driving operations.
Scania cited the agreement as a “landmark” in the development of autonomous vehicle technology, noting that it is the first such agreement in Europe between a truck OEM and a fleet.
Scania officials said the trials in actual traffic situations and varying weather conditions are essential for building public acceptance and confidence in the technology.
In a statement, an Ahola spokesperson noted that the fleet's very first truck purchase, in 1959, was a Scania model and that it looked forward to extending that long-term cooperation toward finding new transportation solutions for the trucking industry.