Scania has announced a partnership agreement with Finnish company Ahola Transport to implement new transport technologies on Nordic roads. This marks the first customer agreement in Europe for semi-autonomous truck platooning on public roads. The partnership will also focus on developing other new transport technologies related to driver assistance.
Ahola Transport Oyj will utilize Scania trucks and technology on Finnish motorways to test semi-autonomous platooning formations with three or more connected trucks. During these tests, drivers will man all trucks. However, the driver in the first truck control the entire platoon and the following trucks are driven autonomously.
In order to deploy new transport technologies broadly, public acceptance and legislation need to be developed in parallel. Trials in actual traffic situations and varying weather conditions are therefore essential. This agreement represents a significant step towards commercially viable semi-autonomous platooning.
In combination with platooning, new driver assistance functions will enable on-time delivery through optimized route planning and speeds for improved transport efficiency. In addition to the positive environmental effects of an improved traffic flow, the lower drag achieved through platooning reduces fuel consumption and thereby carbon emissions.
These new technologies also have the potential to enhance the role of the truck driver. Since the lead truck controls the platoon, drivers in following trucks can, for example, perform administrative tasks. With more flexible regulations for driving time and rest periods, this could open increased opportunities for long-haulage drivers to return home instead of sleeping in the truck.