February 3, 2021
The Swedish Transport Agency has granted permission to Scania to test self-driving trucks on the E4 motorway, between Södertälje and Jönköping, in a collaboration with TuSimple, which develops autonomous vehicles and is a key partner sith Scania.
The trucks will enter commercial service with the Scania Transport Laboratory and will be loaded with goods for Scania’s production operations. The tests will cover technology according to Level 4 of the 5-point SAE scale for self-driving vehicles. This means the trucks will be driven autonomously, but for safety reasons, they are supervised by a driver. A test engineer will also be on board during the tests with the task of monitoring and verifying the information, which is transmitted to the truck from the sensors that enable autonomous driving.
“In both the U.S. 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,” said Hans Nordin, who is responsible for the Hub2hub project.
Later in the year the company plans to expand the tests to cover the entire route between Södertälje and Helsingborg, as well as expand to other European countries and in China. Scania said it has been testing self-driving trucks for mining transport in Australia since 2017.
“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,” said Nordin.
The Hub2hub transportation term is used to signify driving on the motorway between reloading centers and does not refer to more urban areas with two-way traffic. “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,” said Nordin. “However, it will take longer before autonomous vehicles for driving on roads with two-way traffic and in urban environments becomes a reality.”