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The Technical Innovation System of SDVs in Road Freight Transport

Arbetet syftar till att ge en förståelse för systemeffekter av självkörande lastbilar i nod-till-nod godstransporter, och att ge en överblick av de möjligheter och hinder som olika aktörer står inför vid en storskalig användning av självkörande lastbilar.

Författare: Anna Björkman och Yuri Joelsson
Huvudhandledare: Elisabeth Ekener, Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan
Biträdande handledare: Eva Björkholm, Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan
Examinator: Susanne Engström, Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan


Over the last decade, advancements in connectivity, driving automation technology and electrification in combination with changing customer demands have started to rapidly transform the way in which goods are being transported. Following this fast rate of development, self-driving vehicles (SDVs) in road freight transport are anticipated to operate on public streets within the next couple of decades.

The road freight transport sector is particularly feasible and attractive for driving automation technology. In this sector, there are strong economic incentives and rationales to implement SDVs in road freight transport as it presents possibilities to eliminate or drastically reduce driver costs, optimize vehicle usage rates and improve energy efficiency. Widespread adoption of SDVs is especially feasible for so called node-to-node freight transport flows, carried out between important logistics hubs. Node-to-node road freight transport is characterised by repetitive and predictive flows of goods, conducted in less complex driving environments such as highways and industrial areas.

Although SDVs are predicted to bring significant impacts to the transport system and society, research on the potential influence of commercial use cases of SDVs in road freight transport is scarce. Research aiming to provide an overview of how different type of actors are involved in shaping the development, deployment and future operations of SDVs in road freight transport is also limited.

This paper provides an understanding of system-level impacts of SDVs in node-to-node road freight transportation. It also provides a synthesized view of opportunities and barriers that actors are facing in relation to a large scale use of SDVs in road freight transport. This understanding makes it possible for stakeholders to identify expectations, needs, policies and strategies to govern a sustainable transitions of the transport system. In addition, the paper provides an investigation of requirements for new knowledge and competencies along with development.

By using technical innovation systems (TIS) as a theoretical approach for the study, different components and aspects of the Swedish freight transport system are described and analysed in relation to SDV development and innovations. The TIS framework consists of a set of system components involved in the generation, diffusion and utilisation of a technology, and the relationships between the components. TIS components include actors, institutions, and networks, where networks describe the relationships between actors and institutions. In the paper, Sweden is used as case study. The results are based on 19 qualitative interviews with representatives from a broad spectrum of actors all being part of, or expected to be part of, a road freight transport system where SDVs is a central component.

The Technical Innovation System of SDVs in Road Freight Transport (pdf-fil, 1,4 MB, öppnas i nytt fönster).