Testing of Scania’s self-driving trucks on the E4 motorway between Södertälje and Jönköping, Sweden, has been approved by the Swedish Transport Agency. Testing will be carried out in collaboration with autonomous development company TuSimple, a partner of Scania and parent company TRATON (a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group).
Through Scania’s transportation laboratory, the trucks will enter commercial service loaded with goods to support the company’s production operations, and during the testing phase, will operate up to Level 4 autonomy. A driver will be situated inside the truck’s cab to supervise the vehicle and to adhere to safety regulations, and alongside this a test engineer will be on hand monitor the autonomous driving systems.
Hans Nordin, responsible for the Hub2hub project, commented, “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 a payload.”
Since 2017, Scania has been testing self-driving trucks in Australia. “The experience gained from these tests shows that autonomous vehicles can become a reality in just a few years [when used] for transportation in closed areas such as mines and terminals,” Nordin explained.
Scania aims to expand autonomous truck testing and cover a route between Södertälje and Helsingborg toward the end of 2021.
“In the coming years, we also expect to be able to test the technology in other European countries and in China,” said Nordin. “We have come so far in the development of self-driving vehicles that the technology may be ready to be introduced to the market within the next five years for this type of transportation. However, it will take longer before autonomous vehicles [that can drive] on roads with two-way traffic and in urban environments becomes a reality.”