Scania gets govt’s nod to test self-driving trucks in motorway traffic

Tests will cover technology according to level 4 on the 5-point SAE scale for self-driving vehicles

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ScaniaScania has received permission from the Swedish Transport Agency to test self-driving trucks on the E4 motorway between Södertälje and Jönköping.

The tests will take place in association with TuSimple, a leading player in the development of autonomous vehicles and a vital partner in Scania’s and TRATON group’s investment in this field.

The trucks will step in to commercial service with the Scania Transport Laboratory and will be loaded with goods for the company’s production activities.

The tests will cover technology as per level 4 on the 5-point SAE scale for self-driving vehicles, which means that the trucks are driven autonomously but are supervised by a driver for safety reasons.

A test engineer will also be on board during Scania’s tests with the responsibility of verifying and monitoring the information which is transmitted to the truck from the sensors that enable autonomous driving.

Hans Nordin, who is responsible for the Hub2hub project, said, “In both the US and China, tests are already underway of trucks according to Level 4 on public roads, but as far as I know Scania is the first in Europe to test the technology on a motorway and with payload.”

Expanding the tests

Later in 2021, Scania plans to expand the tests to cover the entire route between Södertälje and Helsingborg.

Nordin added: “In the coming years, we also expect to be able to test the technology in other European countries and in China.”

Since 2017, Scania has been testing self-driving trucks for mining transportation in Australia.

Nordin, who said that the experience gained from these tests shows that autonomous vehicles can become a reality in just a few years for transportation in closed areas such as mines and terminals, added that the so-called Hub2hub transportation – driving on the motorway between reloading centres – is the first kind of transportation on public roads where self-driving trucks can become a reality.

He went on to add: “We have come so far in the development of self-driving vehicles that the technology may be ready to be introduced to the market already within the next five years for this type of transportation. However, it will take longer before autonomous vehicles for driving on roads with two-way traffic and in urban environments becomes a reality.”

With its headquarters in San Diego, US, and with facilities in Tucson, Shanghai and Beijing, Scania’s partner TuSimple has carried out millions of kilometres of tests on motorways to develop the self-driving technology for automation level 4.

At present, the company is considered to be the leader in the field.

(With inputs from Automotive Lead Research Team)

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