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Scania developing driverless truck

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Swedish truck maker Scania is developing a wireless network system in which commercial vehicles drive themselves and communicate with each other in real time.

In collaboration with KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, the system detects routes via GPS and by communicating with traffic lights, a truck knows, for example, whether braking is necessary or whether it can continue at the same speed.

One part of the project is dealing with so-called "platooning." This is when, for example, a convoy of six to eight vehicles follows a leading truck and they all maintain the distances between each other. With today's adaptive cruise control, the distance to other vehicles is about 25 meters (about a second in time). If the trucks could run closer together, the drag would be reduced, lowering fuel consumption by up to 20 percent.

Henrik Pettersson, the project coordinator from Scania, says, "If we can show that we can save fuel and create a more efficient transport system, there is incentive for continued development."

As a part of the project Scania/KTH and nine other teams recently participated in a test in Holland. The groups are said to be pleased with the results.

The project is one of many similar initiatives undertaken by automotive engineers in the hopes of producing a self-driving commercial vehicle in the near future.

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