Platooning technology is set to change the way HGVs operate on public roads, with autonomous trucks working together in order to cut costs and improve fuel efficiency. And now Swedish manufacturer Scania has been selected to deploy self-driving trucks to manage the movement of shipping containers in and around the port of Singapore, according to Yahoo! Finance.
A total of four trucks will be involved in each of the autonomous convoys established as part of this scheme, with each vehicle responding instantaneously to changing conditions without having to rely on the reaction time of human drivers.
The trucks will not only be able to safely navigate public roads filled with other types of traffic, but are also intended to deal with loading and unloading at each end of the journey without any direct intervention from workers.
Platooning: An Essential Development
Scania spokesperson Claes Erixon described platooning as being an essential development in the transport sector, and one which will allow for a boost to the sustainability of trucking while also having a range of other benefits, including in terms of safety.
He said that because the company was now being given the chance to put its autonomous trucks to work in the real world, it would be able to prove just how valuable this technology is set to become in the near future.
In addition to working with Scania, Singapore’s transport authority has also signed a deal with Toyota to see a similar deployment of self-driving commercial vehicles in the city. It will continue to take steps to become a world leader when it comes to embracing self-driving trucks, vans, taxis and cars.
Spokesperson Pang Kin Keong said that there were not enough qualified drivers available to match the number of trucks which are required to meet demand in Singapore each day, so moving towards autonomous technology would help to alleviate this pressure.
He was also keen to point out that while human drivers might be replaced behind the wheel, the dawn of the autonomous age presented many more opportunities for those already in the industry, including in roles where fleets of platooning vehicles need to be monitored and managed remotely.
Almost a million vehicles take to the streets of Singapore on a daily basis, with more than a tenth of its land area dedicated to the infrastructure which supports cars and trucks. As such, it is seen as an excellent proving ground for self-driving vehicles, especially those destined to end up being used in commercial operations.
The initial trials of the platooning technologies being developed by Scania at the moment will be used to ensure that they are fully adapted to handle the specific circumstances encountered on Singapore’s roads. Eventually, the vehicles which emerge from this process will be put to work in public, following in the footsteps of similar tests which have already been carried out in Europe by a number of other truck-makers from across the continent who want to compete in this marketplace.