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Is the Scania AXL autonomous truck a self-driving workhorse of the future?

No cab, no problem.

Scania AXL concept
It still looks like a tough machine even without a traditional design

For over 100 years, automobiles have housed human passengers and the stuff they decided to take with them. Yet, the budding self-driving car industry shows a world where some vehicles may not need a cabin. That thought changes the way designers and engineers approach a vehicle.

Take the Scania AXL concept, which debuted on Tuesday. The fully autonomous work truck doesn't have a passenger cab. Without it, Scania approached the design in a radically different fashion. While the Swedish commercial vehicle manufacturer didn't explicitly state benefits, it's easy to imagine a vehicle like the AXL concept sans cab being far easier to maneuver in work spaces and on construction sites. It even looks kind of cool once you stare at it. 

Scania said areas like construction sites are often perfect places to test autonomous vehicles since they're closed off from the public. In the future, the Swedish company thinks autonomous work trucks like this could streamline transportation and construction jobs.

Details on the self-driving system were slim, but Scania said it will share more when the concept completes its first real-world tests next month. All it said for now is "an intelligent control environment" steers and monitors the vehicle. A logistics system further tells the vehicle how to perform in various scenarios, such as a mine.

However, this isn't an electric truck. It actually has an internal combustion engine still, but Scania said renewable biofuel powers the bulking autonomous construction vehicle. We'll likely learn more after the machine undergoes testing on Oct. 2 in Sweden.

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