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Scania introduces a fully autonomous mining truck

Scania AXL fully autonomous mining truck
The Scania AXL autonomous mining truck is breaking new ground in automation concepts.

Scania has launched its latest fully autonomous mining truck that’s designed to improve safety and productivity on mining and quarrying sites. It’s meaner, greener and leaner than anything we have seen before and it’s set to benchmark the future for autonomous mining trucks.

While a range of autonomous vehicles has been created before, they’ve traditionally been fitted with a drivers cab and based on existing designs. The Scania AXL is a fully autonomous concept truck, without a traditional drivers cab.

In what is another milestone in the development of heavy self-driving vehicles, a group of Scania experts in different fields have teamed up and developed a concept truck, which, even without the cab, has the company’s modular system at the heart of the design.

Scania has previously worked with Rio Tinto at Dampier Salt and has seen substantial safety benefits in autonomous systems, but the new concept has taken Scania’s prior designs to a whole new level.

It will target the autonomous truck at mines and large closed construction sites which present favourable environments for self-driving pilots since they are well-controlled locations.

“With the Scania 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,” says Scania’s President and CEO Henrik Henriksson.

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

Scania CEO Henrik Henriksson.

For autonomous vehicles, the software is in many ways more important than hardware. Scania 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.

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“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. The Scania does not have a cab and that changes the game significantly,” says Claes Erixon, Head of Research and Development at Scania.

“The development of 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.”

The combustion engine that powers the concept vehicle is an example of how traditional and new technology is mixed. It is advantageously powered by renewable biofuel.

The robust and powerful features and design behind Scania fully autonomous mining truck match the tougher environments in mines and large construction sites. A new intelligent front module replaces the traditional cab, but even without a cab the concept is easily recognisable as a Scania.

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AMSJ April 2022