New Sca­nia boss has big plans

Mikael Jans­son to steer Sca­nia Aus­tralia through a pe­riod of im­pend­ing leg­is­la­tion and test­ing of emerg­ing au­ton­o­mous bus tech­nol­ogy

ABC (Australia) - - BUS BUSINESS - WORDS IAN PORTER

Au­ton­o­mous buses are ready to roll but the man­u­fac­tur­ers are wait­ing on Gov­ern­ments to  ick on the green light, ac­cord­ing to the new Sca­nia Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Mikael Jans­son.

He says the adop­tion of au­ton­omy for heavy ve­hi­cles, es­pe­cially buses, will be de­pen­dent on leg­is­la­tion, both in Europe and in other mar­kets around the world.

Plus, he re­vealed that Sca­nia will con­duct tri­als of au­ton­o­mous trucks in an Aus­tralian min­ing en­vi­ron­ment in the near fu­ture.

Mean­while, when in­tro­duc­ing Jans­son to the lo­cal in­dus­try, his pre­de­ces­sor Roger McCarthy re­vealed Sca­nia Aus­tralia is pre­par­ing to strengthen its school and char­ter bus range next year by im­port­ing the Sca­nia-bod­ied Tour­ing, built at the Higer plant in China, to back up the Sca­ni­aHiger A30 school bus that has es­tab­lished it­self over the last six years.

Jans­son says Sca­nia had the tech­nol­ogy to al­low its buses to t seam­lessly into the in­tel­li­gent trans­port sys­tems that road au­thor­i­ties were in­tro­duc­ing around the world.

“We have a test place where we are now run­ning au­ton­o­mous buses and trucks and, of course, it’s leg­is­la­tion that is the hurdle (to the in­tro­duc­tion of au­ton­omy),” he says.

Sca­nia is cur­rently tri­alling the pla­toon­ing of au­ton­o­mous trucks in Sin­ga­pore, where the trucks trans­port con­tain­ers around the port and is test­ing au­ton­o­mous buses at its Soder­talje de­vel­op­ment cen­tre.

“Of course, if we can pro­vide special bus lanes in cer­tain in­stal­la­tions, then we could see

Level Three au­ton­omy,” Jans­son says.

At the third level of au­ton­omy, a driver could sur­ren­der con­trol of the ve­hi­cle in cer­tain speci ed con­di­tions and would be able to re­gain con­trol eas­ily.

“Nowa­days, the tech­nique (tech­nol­ogy) is not that hard. But still, to do that, it’s a leg­is­la­tion thing, es­pe­cially in Europe. It some­times takes a long time to get things ap­proved. We are wait­ing for this to hap­pen.”

The ab­sence of leg­is­la­tion that al­lows au­ton­o­mous buses on pub­lic roads will not stop de­vel­op­ment of au­ton­omy in other ar­eas, ac­cord­ing to Jans­son.

“Of course, you start with trucks in mines,” he said. “We have some­thing in a cer­tain closed area in Sin­ga­pore that we are test­ing, and we will make a test here in Aus­tralia also for au­ton­o­mous driv­ing re­lated to trucks. It is not far away and we will be test­ing that to­gether in a min­ing en­vi­ron­ment.”

McCarthy says the new Tour­ing model would be 30cm higher than the Sca­nia-Higer A30, which is aimed at schools, to give more cargo space as re­quired by a char­ter bus.

He said the Tour­ing would be more ex­pen­sive than the Sca­nia-Higer but the ex­tra cargo space made it a true du­alpur­pose ve­hi­cle, suit­able for schools work and char­ters.

The Tour­ing will be built on the same 4x2 heavy- duty chas­sis as used by the Sca­nia-Higer A30, and will also be only 2.5 me­tres wide as re­quired in Aus­tralia, but there will be a choice of en­gines. As well as the nine-litre ve­cylin­der turbo- diesel avail­able in the A30, the Tour­ing will also be avail­able with Sca­nia’s 13-litre six- cylin­der en­gine.

“What you can see is op­er­a­tors want a dual ve­hi­cle, a ve­hi­cle they can use not only on school char­ters or school bus trips, they want to use it as a true char­ter bus col­lect­ing tourists,” McCarthy says.

“They’re want­ing more tra­di­tional lug­gage space un­der the oor of the bus. And this is a good com­bi­na­tion be­cause it gives them the ca­pa­bil­ity of run­ning it as a school bus or a char­ter bus.”

McCarthy says Sca­nia was ex­pect­ing some com­pet­i­tive ten­sion be­tween the A30 and the Tour­ing.

“We do think there will be some tran­si­tion,” he says.

“Some cus­tomers who are cur­rently buy­ing the Sca­nia-Higer A30 may well con­sider pay­ing the price pre­mium be­cause they then have a dual ve­hi­cle. But, from a Sca­nia per­spec­tive, we are sell­ing a chas­sis and be­cause it is our own fully built pro­gram, we will just change our prod­uct mix.”

The ab­sence of leg­is­la­tion that al­lows au­ton­o­mous buses on pub­lic roads will not stop de­vel­op­ment in other ar­eas

Above right: New man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Sca­nia Aus­tralia, Mikael Jans­son

Be­low: Sca­nia’s forth­com­ing dual-pur­pose Tour­ing coach will be avail­able with the same 13-litre six­cylin­der en­gine as in the pic­tured Iriza i6.

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