Lars Åström has an urgent mission. He is setting out on a 1,800 kilometer trip with his Scania R 480 to transport fresh salmon from the Arctic Circle to the port of Oslo, from where his cargo is shipped to locations across Europe. Onboard with Åström is the innovative Scania Driver Support system, which provides practical tips on how to make the drive as economical and ecological as possible.
The midnight sun bathes the Vestfjord in a warm yellow light. The unique surroundings of the Norwegian port of Bodø, north of the Arctic Circle, cannot fail to impress the onlooker. But Lars Åström has no time to admire the scenery today. He has loaded up the deep-freeze trailer of his Scania R 480 with freshly caught Norwegian salmon, which is bound for the gourmet restaurants of Berlin, Munich and Paris. It is a delicate cargo, which he will transport over 1,800 kilometers to Oslo, from where it will be shipped on to further destinations.
PERSONAL COACH FOR DRIVERS
The 50-year-old is not expecting a leisurely ride. His trip leads him eastwards from Bodø along route 80, in the direction of Fauske, and then down the Swedish coast towards the Norwegian capital. It is a varied route through a craggy fjord landscape, with frequent lonely roads and challenging mountain and valley passes. The navigation system in Åström’s truck has estimated the journey time at 27 hours and 34 minutes. But Åström does not feel under pressure at the prospect of making such a journey. “With 30 years of experience in this job, I’m quite relaxed about it,” says the partner of H Ulfhielm Fjärrtransport, a long-distance hauler based in Skellefteå in Northern Sweden. With a deep, rich sound, he starts up the 480 PS engine.
THE NEW R SERIES –
side panels reduce fuel
Åström has hooked his iPod up to the onboard sound system. One of his favorite tracks is “King of the Road,” Roger Miller’s country hit from the 1960s. This title also says something about the high standards that Åström expects in his work. “New technology and developments in the transport industry: I’ve always found that fascinating,” he says. Accordingly, he has come to appreciate the Scania Driver Support system as the ideal passenger. “It’s something completely new in the haulage industry,” he explains. “A display makes it possible for me to monitor my own driving style in real time,” he says, pointing to the unit tucked in between the tachometer and the speedometer, where the Scania engineers have installed the new virtual assistant. “The system is like a personal coach, giving me advice and tips on how I can make my driving style even better, whether it be with braking or economical gear-changing – I’m traveling with a good mate!”