Swedish truck manufacturer Scania has announced a partnership agreement with Finnish freight transport and logistics company Ahola Transport to implement and trial new technologies on roads in Finland.
The collaboration will be the first manufacturer-customer agreement in Europe for testing semi-autonomous truck platooning on public roads. The partnership will also focus on developing other new transport technologies related to driver assistance systems.
Ahola Transport Oyj will use Scania trucks and technology on Finnish freeways to test semi-autonomous platooning formations with three or more connected trucks. During these tests, drivers will be present in all trucks. However, the driver in the first truck will 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, so real-world trials in actual traffic situations and varying weather conditions are essential. This agreement represents a significant step toward 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 carbon emissions. The 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-haul drivers to return home instead of sleeping in the truck. This marks Scania’s second customer agreement on truck platooning, following the launch of a multi-year project with the Ministry of Transport and the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA Corporation) last year.
“Ahola Transport is a progressive company that has embraced digitization to optimize its transport operations and route planning,” noted Anders Dewoon, director of new business solutions at Scania. “With partners such as Ahola Transport, we can together test new technologies that will form part of a future transport ecosystem and verify that it is both effective and safe.”
Hans Ahola, CEO of Ahola Transport, commented, “For us it is important to enhance our drivers’ work situation with help of new technology. The planned solutions also help us to meet customer expectations for faster deliveries and environmental targets. Our association with Scania started with the first truck back in 1959, and we are pleased to extend cooperation to new solutions.”