Scania has lifted the lid on a new fully autonomous cabless concept truck called AXL which has been put together using the company’s modular design system.

Much like Volvo’s VERA concept tractor unit, Scania’s AXL is initially aimed at operation within mines and large closed construction sites, for example – environments favourable for self-driving trials since they are well-controlled locations. It uses a combustion engine powered by renewable biofuel.

“With the AXL concept truck, we are taking a significant step towards the smart transport systems of the future, where self-driving vehicles will play a natural part,” said Scania’s president and CEO, Henrik Henriksson.

“We continue to build and pilot concepts to demonstrate what we can do with the technology available today.”

For autonomous vehicles, software is in many ways more important than hardware. AXL is steered and monitored by an intelligent control environment. In mines, for example, the autonomous operations are facilitated by a logistics system that tells the vehicle how it should perform.

“We already have self-driving trucks in customer operations,” said Claes Erixon, head of research and development at Scania.

“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.

“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 AXL we break new ground and continue to learn at great speed,” Erixon concluded.