First full-scale autonomous truck trial planned

posted by Francis Churchill
25 January 2017

Singapore has been chosen for the first full-scale testing of autonomous lorry convoys.

Scania said the city state had been picked because its transport network, which accounts for 12% of its total land use, is facing increasing travel demands.

Scania said it was working with the Singapore's Ministry of Transport, the Port of Singapore Authority and automotive firm Toyota to develop the technology.

“Singapore has launched several autonomous vehicle initiatives and together we will now demonstrate how we can substantially enhance productivity in the Port of Singapore,” said Mark Cameron, country manager at Scania Singapore.

The convoys, or “platoons”, will consist of three autonomous vehicles that follow a fourth vehicle with a driver.

By wirelessly communicating with each other, the vehicles will be able to drive closer to each other safely, reducing drag and improving fuel efficiency.

It is hoped the lorry platoons will optimise road capacity as well as increase productivity and safety. Scania said the technology would also alleviate the driver shortage that the industry is currently facing.

“It will also open up opportunities for truck drivers to take on higher-skilled roles as fleet operators and managers,” says Pang Kin Keong, permanent secretary for transport in Singapore.

Before on-road testing begins, Scania and Toyota will design, test and refine the platooning technology in Sweden and Japan, Scania said.

Last year the American based firm Otto claimed to have made the first commercial self-driven lorry delivery, moving a shipment of beer from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs.

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