Example of an autonomous truck platoon. Photo: Scania
Scania will design a full-scale autonomous truck platooning operation, based on its own advanced technology, which will use public roads while transporting containers between port terminals in Singapore. The aim is to organize 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. Singapore has already tested autonomous cars, taxis, utility vehicles and buses.
“Autonomous vehicles and platooning are cornerstones of future sustainable transport systems,” said Claes Erixon, head of Research and Development at Scania. “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.”
The multi-year project was organized by the Ministry of Transport and the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA Corporation). Toyota is also participating in this project, according to Scania.
“Trucking as we know it today is a highly labor-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,” said Pang Kin Keong, permanent secretary for Transport and chairman of the Committee on Autonomous Road Transport in Singapore (CARTS).
With the vehicle population in Singapore approaching 1 million, the Initiative seeks to address the increasing travel demand and land constraints; 12% of Singapore’s total land is used for road and land transport infrastructure. Additionally, it faces a shortage of drivers, according to Scania.
It has established Singapore as a “living laboratory” for new vehicle concepts that will increase productivity, road safety, optimize road capacity and enable new mobility concepts.
“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,” said Mark Cameron, country manager, Scania 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 centers 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, according to Scania.