This Self-Driving Truck Doesn't Have a Cab and Looks Quietly Terrifying
Something about this truck looks a bit…off. You know, like its head.
Truck maker Scania has unveiled a self-driving truck that mercifully is only a concept. Because the autonomous AXL concept lacks a cab where, you know, a human operator might sit, it is an enormous low-slung, faceless, and headless thing with eight wheels. Put another way, the truck is quietly terrifying, all facets and brutishness and sheer scale.
Scania figures the AXL 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. No human driver, no cab. Simple. 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. And apparently, if the photo below can be believed, it can…drift?
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. (It's also, you know, not a production vehicle.) The company thinks closed-loop situations such as these are ideal for driverless vehicles, and we actually agree. While we don't fear autonomous technology, 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. If that were to happen in a mine, fine; on a city street or a freeway? That's loudly terrifying.
To end this report on a positive, not-scary note, we'll say it is nifty to see Scania's designers accounting for the driverless future in their design. May we suggest they consider adding a friendly face to their next creation?