Swedish transport company Scania has secured government permission to conduct tests of self-driving trucks.

The testing will be conducted on the motorway between Södertälje and Jönköping in collaboration with TuSimple, a manufacturer of self-driving trucks.

The trucks will be loaded with goods for Scania’s production operations and will run on the motorway autonomously.

The testing will be conducted at Level 4 autonomous mode of the five-point SAE scale, with trucks driven autonomously under supervision by an on-board driver for safety purposes.

A test engineer will also be on board to monitor and verify the information that the sensors transmit to the truck to enable autonomous driving.

Scania R&D project manager Hans Nordin said: “In both the US and China, tests are already underway of trucks according to Level 4 on public roads, but as far as I know Scania is the first in Europe to test the technology on a motorway and with payload.”

Later this year, the company plans to expand the tests to include the whole route between Södertälje and Helsingborg.

Meanwhile, Scania has been testing autonomous trucks for mining transportation in Australia since 2017.

Nordin added: “We have come so far in the development of self-driving vehicles that the technology may be ready to be introduced to the market already within the next five years for this type of transportation.

“However, it will take longer before autonomous vehicles for driving on roads with two-way traffic and in urban environments becomes a reality.”

Recently, autonomous vehicle technology start-up Aurora partnered with PACCAR to develop, test and commercialise autonomous trucks.