Swedish truck OEM Scania AB has unveiled a glimpse into the future of truck design influenced by autonomous truck technology.
It’s called the Scania AXL — a fully autonomous concept truck, without a cab or any accommodation for a driver.
Scania calls the design a “milestone” in the development of heavy self-driving vehicles. The concept was developed by a group of Scania experts in different fields, who teamed up and laid out the overall design of the concept truck, which, even without the cab, has the company’s modular system at the heart of the design.
“With the Scania AXL concept truck, we are taking a significant step towards the smart transport systems of the future, where self-driving vehicles will play a natural part,” said Henrik Henriksson, Scania president and CEO. “We continue to build and pilot concepts to demonstrate what we can do with the technology that is available today.”
Scania engineers noted that for autonomous vehicles, software is in many ways more important than hardware. As a result, they said, the Scania AXL is steered and monitored by an intelligent control environment. In mining operations, for example, the autonomous operations are facilitated by a logistics system that tells the vehicle how it should perform.
“We already have self-driving trucks in customer operations. However so far, they have been with room for a safety driver who can intervene if necessary. Scania AXL does not have a cab and that changes the game significantly,” said Claes Erixon, head of research and development at Scania.
“The development in self-driving vehicles has made great strides in the past years," he added. "We still don’t have all the answers, but through concept vehicles like Scania AXL we break new ground and continue to learn at great speed.”