Autonomous platooning round the corner

Scania says it will design the world’s first autonomous truck platooning operation to transport containers between port terminals in Singapore.

The aim is to organise convoys of four trucks – with the following three trucks behind the lead truck autonomously driven, as well as to fully automate the processes for precise docking and undocking of cargo.

Claes Erixon, head of research and development at Scania, said, ‘Autonomous vehicles and platooning are cornerstones of future sustainable transport systems. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate our leadership and technology in this new exciting area. We are pioneering in this field, which has the potential not only to save lives in traffic, but also to significantly decrease the environmental impact of transport.’

Singapore aims to be a ‘living laboratory’ for new vehicle concepts that will increase productivity, road safety, optimise road capacity and enable new mobility concepts. It has already tested autonomous cars, taxis, utility vehicles and buses, and is now adding trials of truck platooning concepts.

Pang Kin Keong, permanent secretary for transport and chairman of the Committee on Autonomous Road Transport in Singapore, said, ‘Trucking as we know it today is a highly labour-intensive industry. We face a shortage of truck drivers. In this regard, truck platooning technology presents us with an opportunity to boost productivity in both the port sector and the trucking industry. It will also open up opportunities for truck drivers to take on higher-skilled roles as fleet operators and managers.’

Mark Cameron, country manager, Scania Singapore, ‘Scania is well advanced in cutting edge autonomous technology as well as in platooning. Singapore has launched several autonomous vehicle initiatives and together we will now demonstrate how we can substantially enhance productivity in the Port of Singapore.’

The truck platooning trials will take place in two phases. The first phase will focus on designing, testing and refining the truck platooning technology to adapt to local conditions. These will be conducted by Scania and Toyota at their respective research centres in Sweden and Japan, to leverage their existing development work. The second phase will consist of local trials and development of the technology in Singapore.