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Designing for Change in Complex Systems

Design Considerations for Uptime in a Transportation System with Driverless Vehicles

Time: Thu 2023-10-26 14.00

Location: Gladan, Brinellvägen 85, Stockholm

Video link:

Language: English

Subject area: Machine Design

Doctoral student: Lina Rylander , Maskinkonstruktion

Opponent: Associate Professor Josina Vink, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design

Supervisor: Magnus Eneberg, Integrated Transport Research Lab, ITRL; Professor Jonas Mårtensson, Biomedicinsk fysik och röntgenfysik, Integrated Transport Research Lab, ITRL, Reglerteknik

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The transportation system is undergoing a transformation to enable socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable transport solutions, and driverless trucks are considered one innovation that can contribute to a more sustainable and efficient transportation system. Nevertheless, introducing driverless trucks will cause disruptions in the system, and one considerable change is that the driver is no longer present. The effects of removing the driver from the transportation system are little explored, but it is reasonable to argue that it will affect the system design, such as how system actors interact, their relationships, and how they need to be organized.

The fault-handling system is one crucial subsystem that enables uptime in the transportation system and is the system that provides activities that maintain vehicle health. Such activities can be maintenance, repair, and vehicle monitoring services. However, the fault-handling system provides service centers with experienced technicians, diagnosis and troubleshooting tools, maintenance planning support, and fleet management. Thus, maintenance and repair can be put in the context of a service.

Service design methods have been applied in this thesis to generate insights regarding the fault-handling system today and to develop a concept of how a future system for driverless trucks could be designed. The study has involved interviews with system actors, generating patterns, and understanding the system today, and Scania experts have been engaged in creating scenarios. Later, those were used during a workshop to explore the present system and co-create a desired future. Moreover, a prototype was developed to perform interventions. 

This thesis has two purposes: to explore how design methods can contribute to changing complex socio-technical systems, such as the transportation system, and to explore what design considerations are needed to support uptime when manually driven trucks become driverless. The questions explored are: how can design methods be used to contribute to changes in socio-technical systems, such as the transportation system? How may a system for fault-handling and decision-making be designed to support uptime in a transportation system with driverless vehicles? What is the driver's role concerning uptime in the transportation system?

The driver's role in the fault-handling system can give insight into how the system is structured today, such as existing mental models, relationships, institutional arrangements, and other aspects to consider when redesigning it for driverless trucks. The study showed that the driver has a significant role in the fault-handling system considering five themes: 1) fault detection, 2) decision-making, 3) information exchange, 4) information retrieval, and 5) tacit knowledge and experience. The themes were further developed into considerations for redesigning the fault-handling system for driverless trucks.

This thesis contributes to Scania's development as a provider of sustainable transport solutions and, specifically, how the fault-handling system can be designed for the future transport system. It also gives insights into how design can be used as a tool at Scania when studying disruptive innovation. The results have derived new insights and questioned existing assumptions regarding the fault-handling system, which can be the beginning of questioning existing mental models in the organization because of the change.

Keywords: Driverless vehicles, vehicle health management, service design, system transformation, complex socio-technical system.