The CEO of Scania says the Swedish commercial vehicle and engine manufacturer’s first-ever self-driving heavy duty truck is a “significant step” towards smart transport systems of the future.

The Scania AXL concept is cab-less and can operate autonomously in specially controlled environments such as mines and large closed construction sites. The company says the Scania AXL is based on the company’s famous modular system and was developed by a team of engineering and software talent from across the firm.

“With the Scania AXL concept truck, we are taking a significant step towards the smart transport systems of the future, where self-driving vehicles will play a natural part,” said Scania president and CEO Henrik Henriksson.

The Scania AXL is steered and monitored by an intelligent control environment. Scania says that in mines, for example, its autonomous operation is guided by a logistics system that tells the vehicle how it should perform.

It is also powered by  a combustion engine powered by renewable biofuels and a new intelligent front module replaces the traditional cab.

“We already have self-driving trucks in customer operations. However, there  has been room for a safety driver who can intervene if necessary. Scania AXL changes the game significantly,” added Claes Erixon, head of R&D at Scania.

“The development in self-driving vehicles has made great strides in the past years. We still don’t have all the answers, but through concept vehicles like Scania AXL we break new ground and continue to learn at great speed.”