The Elements of Innovation Discovered

Scania autonomous trucks are coming

Metal Tech News - May 29, 2024

Australia gets first crack at a 40-metric-ton autonomous heavy tipper haul truck, with a 50-metric-ton model to follow.

Over the past decade, Scania has been developing self-driving heavy vehicles and their support systems, including applications for hub-to-hub transport on highways as well as autonomous trucks for confined areas such as mines.

Mines and large closed construction sites are ideal environments for self-driving vehicles to contribute to safer working conditions and more efficient operations. As heavy industries look to streamline transport and make their operations more sustainable, autonomous vehicles are increasingly being considered.

The wait is almost over for a global industry eager to electrify, automate, and streamline its fleets, as Scania is now taking orders for its 40-metric-ton autonomous heavy tipper truck, with a 50-metric-ton model coming soon.

"The transition from research and development to the launch of a commercial product is a major milestone for us and for autonomous heavy transport in general. This is the most advanced product Scania has put on the market so far," said Peter Hafmar, vice president and head of autonomous solutions at Scania.

Australia gets first dibs

The Swedish manufacturer of heavy trucks and buses will start sales of its autonomous heavy tipper trucks in Australia, with first deliveries and start of operation scheduled for 2026. Delivery into the Latin American market, a region where Scania already has a significant market presence in the mining space, will most likely follow.

Due to their interoperability with other systems and vehicles, Scania's autonomous trucks can also be integrated into existing operations.

The company's smaller, civil-class truck offerings also can have advantages over the very large heavy haulage trucks commonly used at mines, both in terms of emissions and productivity.

"Another benefit with our solution is that it allows mining companies to more quickly take the next step towards zero-emission operations. It's easier to electrify operations with Scania's autonomous trucks compared with traditional heavy haulage trucks," said Hafmar.

Scania's autonomous tipper truck was developed in close cooperation with customers in the mining industry, allowing for extensive real-world testing.

"It's probably the most ambitious research and development project we have done so far together with a customer, and I am very pleased about the result. Thanks to all the rigorous checks and numerous on-site tests we have been able to develop an optimal autonomous transport solution for mines," the head of Scania's autonomous solutions said.

Scania North America

North American customers are still awaiting their own versions of the autonomous vehicles, settling on Scania's well-crafted industrial power generation engines, marine engines and electrified power systems in the meantime.

One promising design has been the Scania AXL fully autonomous concept truck, which features power-sliding in a Scania demo video and was even praised in a Top Gear article back in 2019. Its lines are clean, heavy-duty and powerful. The truck's design features an intelligent front module that replaces the traditional cab, powered by renewable biofuel.


The Scania AXL concept truck's modular design features an intelligent front module that replaces the traditional cab, powered by renewable biofuel.

Though it remains a concept truck only, the mining industry is steadily edging closer to taking on more autonomous vehicles as time goes on, positioning Scania at the forefront alongside Sandvik, Komatsu and Caterpillar.

"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," said Claes Erixon, then-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."


Reader Comments(0)