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The life of a “secret agent”


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Scania Group Press Release  /  August 27, 2016

For field test drivers like ­Steve Pope, dealing with ­secrecy and spies is a part of everyday life.

The field tests for the new generation Scania truck represented a major challenge. Advanced masking techniques and far-reaching organisational preparations were required to keep the vehicle’s identity, styling and new features under wraps.

“We have used more heavy duty masking than with previous launches,” says Anders Karlqvist, who is responsible for Scania’s extensive field testing activities. “It should be possible to drive past one of our field-test trucks and, maybe, wonder what kind of truck it was. But it shouldn’t immediately draw attention to itself.”

For Steve Pope, security around the vehicle was one of his most important day-to-day issues. The assignment was particularly sensitive, due to the United Kingdom’s large population, heavy traffic and numerous truck spotters constantly on the look-out for new trucks.

“I have to plan all my runs very thoroughly,” says Pope. “When I park for the night, the first thing I do is draw black curtains around the entire cab so that no-one can see in or take pictures of the new interior. The same applies when I stop to fill up or to eat. I can’t stop all the curious people, but then the truck is quite ingeniously masked.”

Occasionally Pope got questions from other drivers about the strange truck he is driving. The masking have given some people an impression of heavy ”armour”.

“I tell some of them that I’m driving a special vehicle for the Royal Mint,” Pope says. “Others have been told that the truck is equipped with radiation protection or that it’s equipped with sensors for filming and digitising footage for use within different TV and computer games…”



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Steve’s second home

Scania Group Press Release  /  August 27, 2016

Steve Pope spent 20 years driving trucks for the British Army in Bosnia, Iraq and Kuwait. For the past year, he has tested and lived in one of Scania’s new generation trucks under real life conditions. “This represents a completely new level of heavy truck,” he says.

Field-test driver Steve Pope has used a masked vehicle from Scania’s new generation of trucks to conduct long-term testing along his regular transport runs across the United Kingdom. He has spent four to five nights per week in the new cab and now calls it his “second home”.

“I work and sleep here, cook all my food here, and it’s also my office,” says Pope. “Even compared to the Scania R-series that I previously had, everything I’ve experienced represents a big boost. All the new technology makes life so much simpler for me. I don’t need to do much; the truck does it all for me. Sometimes it feels like all I need to do is push a button and point it in the right direction.”

Asked to rank the improvements in Scania’s new truck, Pope thinks for a second before listing: the field of vision, the driving experience, the general level of comfort, and the bed!

The forward- and outward shifted driver position and narrower A-pillar have given Pope a whole new perspective of the area around the truck.

“The advantage with these narrower A-pillars is that you get a much wider view between the A-pillar and the rear view mirror,” he says. “Together with the new, lower dashboard, the slimmer door panels and this larger surface area of glass, you have a completely new experience in terms of passing pedestrians, cyclists and passenger cars in the roundabouts. It’s a big boost for traffic safety!”

“Much better field vision”

Pope describes the driving experience as “very much Scania”.

“It’s the same feeling that I had in my previous Scania, but with a much better field of vision. I love the design of the new dashboard. When you sit behind the wheel and drive the truck you have everything you might need around you.”

Pope continues, “The level of comfort in the new cab in just wonderful. The seats are adjustable in every way and the spaciousness in the cab beats anything that I’ve seen or experienced.”

“It’s like sleeping at home”

For Pope, who sleeps in the cab four or five nights a week, the bed is of utmost importance. “The mattress is much thicker in the cab and this has meant that I now sleep much better,” says Pope. “And it’s a firmer mattress, which is great if you, like me, have a bad back. For me personally, it’s like sleeping at home on a special mattress.”

Pope sees his year as a field test driver for Scania as a high point in a very action-packed life.

“It’s a fantastic feeling to be involved in developing tomorrow’s truck,” he says. “Sometimes when I’m drifting off to sleep in the cab, I think about how good it will feel a few years from now when I see this new truck out on the roads. I got to be involved with developing it.”

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