Autonomous tech is all the rage these days as automakers look for more efficient ways to tackle transport, but I think Scania has come up with what is possibly the coolest looking heavy truck concept with AXL. This cabless beast is what all your sci-fi transport dreams should look like.
The wildest thing to note here is the lack of a cab. Right now, pretty much all functioning autonomous cars still include space for a driver to pilot the machine—even if it’s just a precautionary measure. The Scania AXL has completely removed that space.
From the press release:
“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,” says Claes Erixon, Head of Research and Development at Scania. “The development in self-driving vehicles has made great strides in the past years. 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.”
It makes sense to develop autonomy for heavy transport vehicles before, say, your average car just in the sense that many of these trucks run set paths and can often navigate dangerous areas, like mines or closed construction sites. These are places where, theoretically, automakers should be able to experiment with autonomous tech. If you’re going to stick a totally driverless vehicle somewhere, it should probably be in a place where it isn’t going to run into a lot of traffic.
The Scania AXL is fitted with a combustion engine, which isn’t the norm for autonomous cars given that they are often electric. Scania’s press release mentions that it’ll be powered by renewable biofuel but doesn’t offer any other details about what that actually means.
If you just happen to be in Södertälje, Sweden on October 2, you’ll be able to see the first live demo of the Scania AXL. If not, you—like most of us—will just have to content yourself with some drool-worthy videos.