The future of vehicles will be a driverless one–of that I have little doubt. It’s statistically safer, more convenient and more efficient. But can we also take a moment to realise how weird these driverless vehicles will look? Take this new truck (lorry, if you’re from this side of the pond) for example. It’s whack.
Equipment and services company Scania just announced that they’re working on developing their very own self-driving cabless vehicle that can be used in construction sites. This, according to Scania, is to help ease the workload at mines and large closed construction sites.
Scania CEO Henrik Henriksson said that the AXL concept truck is steered and monitored by an intelligent control environment that sits in the front module which replaces the traditional cab.
We’ve seen a whole bunch of self-driving vehicles through the years, but many of the ones I’ve seen have usually been passenger vehicles. Cars, for example, which are designed to hold people. When that happens, the self-driving car will still look like a car and will have roughly the same kind of shape. With these self-driving trucks, the goal is to have nobody in them at all. It’s basically a shopping cart with wheels.
Wait, no, shopping carts have wheels too–this was a bad analogy. But I think you get what I’m getting at. That’s why this cabless vehicle can be designed in this efficient way because of the way it functions. And honestly, I dig it because with the driver out of the way, driverless vehicles will have a whole bunch more design opportunities.
I guess the only problem with the cabless design is that if these trucks had to ship electronic goods across the country, there’d be no driver in the cab armed with a shotgun to fend off baddies in their souped up Honda Civics.
That being said, it was interesting to me when I found out that this truck isn’t an electric vehicle. Instead, the combustion engine that powers this vehicle uses renewable biofuel instead. I can see the benefits of such a system because the less downtime these vehicles need to recharge, the more money the company using them can save.
That being said, while I do like this concept, I’m curious to see what the response to a vehicle like this will be like. Safety, is one concern I foresee being a challenge they’ll have to tackle in an ever-changing environment like a construction site. Then, there’ll undoubtedly be the backlash of jobs being lost to automation.
I’m also interested to see if a solution like this would be better than say the remote driving applications (drone style) for heavy machinery that wireless 5G technology promises to bring. That’s supposed to be safer to operate, but also doesn’t have the whole job-loss aspect. What do you think?