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Virtual Reality reaches the rigs

LEFT: Will new technologies induce young people from the 'screen generation' to look at trucking as a career?
LEFT: Will new technologies induce young people from the 'screen generation' to look at trucking as a career?

HIGH-TECH screen driven technologies could be a way to get millenials into the truck driving seat.

In a venture between truck crane builder Hiab and Scania trucks, truck drivers working in the logging industry are now staying in the comfort of the truck cab, watching screens and self-loading their truck, now an occupation where any gamer would have an advantage.

Hiab's HiVision crane brings technology brings this video games tech to the timber industry.

How does it work? We follow Swedish driver Mattias Johansson on a day in the office.

ABOVE: The whole loading process is carried out with the driver sitting in the truck cab wearing a Virtual Reality head piece.
ABOVE: The whole loading process is carried out with the driver sitting in the truck cab wearing a Virtual Reality head piece.

While the routine seems quite normal on the drive to the loading ramp but then it's clear that Johansson's truck isn't like the rest.

While most drivers would climb out to an external crane cab on the back of the truck, he instead slides over to his joystick-equipped passenger seat and slips on a virtual reality headset.

Scania P 280 4x2 with box bodySdertlje, SwedenPhoto: Gran Wink 2017
Scania P 280 4x2 with box bodySdertlje, SwedenPhoto: Gran Wink 2017 Gran Wink 2017

In gaming, the headset might take him to another world, but in Johansson's case, it transports him to what amounts to a virtual crane cab, courtesy of a camera system mounted on the crane.

The system gives him a panoramic view of the crane and its surroundings, and from a higher vantage point than a traditional crane cab would provide its operator.

Viewed from the outside, the crane seems to be operating almost by magic as it loads the wood stacked by the side of the road onto the truck.

Thirty minutes later, Johansson removes his headset and the job is finished.

Scania Truck RangeScania S 500Scania R 730Scania G 410Scania P 280Sdertlje, SwedenPhoto: Dan Boman 2017
Scania Truck RangeScania S 500Scania R 730Scania G 410Scania P 280Sdertlje, SwedenPhoto: Dan Boman 2017 Dan Boman 2017

As the crane folds back up, he picks up a remote control, and the timber bunks, Com 90 from ExTe, secure themselves and the load. He's done all of this without leaving the air-conditioned truck cab.

In a business with tight margins, the use of such digital technology seems like it could be excessive, but Johansson insists that the crane and timber bunks save time, money and weight compared to more traditional alternatives.

Caption
Caption

"This crane is is almost $5000 cheaper than a regular one because the crane cabin costs about that,” he said.

"With this system, we also save 400kg, which means we can load 400kg more on our vehicle.”

Cab exterior of a Scania XT, XT badgeSdertlje, SwedenPhoto: Gran Wink 2017
Cab exterior of a Scania XT, XT badgeSdertlje, SwedenPhoto: Gran Wink 2017 Gran Wink 2017

Topics:  scania trucks virtual reality

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