Scania to start local autonomous testing next year

EXCLUSIVE: Australia to see OEM measure performances in controlled environment

Scania to start local autonomous testing next year
Claes Erixon in Melbourne


Truckmaker Scania is eyeing next year to start fully autonomous vehicle testing in Australia.

Senior executives ATN spoke to were tight-lipped on the detail, saying it was early in the piece and details had yet to be finalised, while there were also sensitivities with the customer involved.

But Scania head of research and development Claes Erixon – in the country for a meeting of the Scania Australia board, of which he is a member – and Scania Australia MD Mikael Jansson confirm that the test will occur "on a small scale" and "in a controlled environment".

Though the Swedish-headquartered company has already canvassed an autonomous vehicle concept dispensing with the cab, realisation of that is still in the future and will not feature here.

"You know, Scania prefers to do things incrementally," Erixon tells ATN, adding that a driver will be on hand to provide extra safety back-up.

The move is a logical extension of Scania’s approach, involving gaining initial performance insights where variables are limited and easily controllable, such as in ports and mines.

It comes as miners look progressively harder at transport automation, involving both trains and dump trucks, in the face of worker shortages and the need for greater safety outcomes.

The latest to make headlines with driverless dump trucks is mining mogul Gina Rinehart for her Roy Hill operation, though there is no indication that the Scania test is involved there.

In ports, where Scania has linked with Singapore to trial platooning between terminals there.

Erixon explains this is a three-step process, the first of which is a demonstration of the concept at the Sodertalje headquarters before the end of the year "to show the functionalities, so to speak".

"There are quite specific demands … in terms of sharp turns and lane changes and things like that," he says, adding that these in particular test the vehicle sensors.

There are a dozen or more of these demands and, again, safety back-up demands drivers be on-hand through demonstration.


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