Welcome to the NXT future! Scania’s new battery-electric and self-driving urban concept vehicle is designed with the flexibility to shift from ferrying commuters to and from work, delivering goods during the day, and collecting refuse at night.
Countless cities are now catalysing change in urban transport, driven by the need for lower emissions and less congestion. Technological and infrastructural advances in electric and autonomous vehicles will be key enablers for cities when shifting to a sustainable transport system.
NXT is a vision of the future for transport in cities. Several of the technologies in NXT have yet to fully mature, but with this concept vehicle Scania visibly and technically demonstrates ideas of what is within reach. NXT is designed for 2030 and beyond while incorporating several cutting-edge features that are already available.
Fully utilising Scania’s modular system, its engineers have developed a concept vehicle that can change shape for varying urban assignments. In NXT, the front and rear drive modules can be fitted to a bus body, a distribution truck body, or a refuse collector.
The eight-metre-long bus module is built as one composite unit, substantially reducing weight. The cylindrical cell batteries are placed under the floor, thereby utilising otherwise dead space as well as contributing to better weight distribution. With the low vehicle weight of less than eight tonnes, the range with present-day batteries is estimated at 245 kilometres.
Many of the interior features in the concept vehicle’s bus module compensate for the lack of the driver. Lights in the ceiling inform passengers when the vehicle is about to start or stop. NXT is also equipped with a warning system to alert those disembarking of unsafe oncoming traffic.
Upon entering, passengers can immediately see information about public transport connections and communicate with a human operator via a sphere-shaped touchpad. Information on an additional screen could include news updates or tourist recommendations and tips.
The autonomous concept vehicle is equipped with state-of-the-art integrated sensor systems for driving and traffic detection. Cameras on the front, back and sides are complemented by radar and lidar – light detection and ranging – systems. This integrated sensor system enables the vehicle to scan the entire surroundings and obtain a 360-degree view.
People in the vicinity of the vehicle will be alerted to its approach by LED lighting throughout the front, sides and back. It also confirms through lighting and sound that it is aware of a passing pedestrian or cyclist. This is done in three steps: initially, the vehicle will signal through a laser beam that it has observed the person. If that warning goes unnoticed, the vehicle will amplify LED-lighting and finally emit a sound.