It’s enormous. It’s faceless and headless. It has eight wheels and it’s built for tough environments. And … it doesn’t need a driver.
In fact, there is no cab, there’s nowhere for anyone to sit. Not even a cat!
Put another way, the Scania autonomous AXL concept truck is quietly terrifying — all facets and brutishness and sheer scale. One might even say, bad-ass?
As one auto journalist said: “It’s the big brother we all wish we had in high school, to deal with the bullies.”
According to Motortrend, Scania figures the AXL dump truck can do without a cab for the same reason Tesla no longer puts grilles on the front of its engineless electric cars: It simply isn’t necessary.
Thanks to supposedly modular construction, the AXL could theoretically take different forms for different jobs, like a semi truck or a large delivery vehicle.
Pictured here, the AXL is set up as a giant dump truck. Lacking a cab has its perks, and the hauling tub for rocks and detritus stretches nearly the AXL’s entire length, like a gigantic wheelbarrow.
Lest you worry about meeting one of these trucks on your next grocery run, Scania says the AXL is intended for use in construction sites, mines, or rock quarries, Motortrend reported.
The company thinks closed-loop situations such as these are ideal for driverless vehicles — probably an OK idea. The consequences of a self-driving Uber or similar losing its marbles is many magnitudes less horrifying than something the size of a house going AWOL at speed.
According to Hagerty.com, Scania says that when it comes to autonomous systems, the company doesn’t have all the answers yet. However, the company will continue to learn at great speed using concepts such as the AXL, especially as software becomes at least as important as hardware.
No word on the actual speed of the AXLs yet; but when it comes to the trucks’ design, Scania went for a tough stance softened by the face of what may be recognized as a futuristic bulldog.
The Swedish firm also produced a video to walk us through this design process, which took them from a basic robot look through asymmetric shapes to a combination of round and square shapes.
A tough, stubborn bulldog seems appropriate, since “a really nice friendly animal’s face” wouldn’t look right in a mine.