Skip to main content

Fault handling systems and self-driving trucks

Lina Rylander, Industrial PhD student from Scania, working at ITRL, recently defended her licentiate thesis titled “Designing for Change in Complex Systems: Design Considerations for Uptime in a Transportation System with Driverless Vehicles” where she explores how design methods can contribute to changing complex socio-technical systems, such as the transportation system, and what design considerations are needed to support uptime when manually driven trucks become driverless. We interviewed Lina to find out about her journey so far, key findings from her research and how she plans to continue further to achieve her PhD.


In order to make ITRL’s research more accessible to both industry and the public, we asked a range of questions designed to give an overview of Lina’s Licentiate thesis and inspire you to learn more.

Could you explain what you investigated in this research?

I have explored how design methods can contribute to changing complex socio-technical systems. In this thesis, I have studied changes due to the introduction of driverless trucks and how the fault handling system, which is the system that offers maintenance and repair of trucks, may change when trucks become driverless.

Lina Rylander

Could you summarise the main results of your research?

My focus has been understanding the driver’s role today when a truck experiences a fault. I found that the driver plays an important role, such as sharing important information and making decisions.

I have also explored how a remote-control centre could be an opportunity for remote monitoring and interacting with driverless trucks. Here, I could identify a need for specific knowledge regarding fault handling and the experience of analysing vehicle faults. I suggest involving a human actor with such knowledge in the remote-control centre. I have used design methods in my inquiry and got curious about the role of design when studying changes in complex systems, such as the fault handling system. And I identified that there has been a shift in the designer’s role, from doing intradisciplinary work to participating in transdisciplinary projects and applying methods from the system thinking domain.

Tell us about an exciting moment of your journey so far!

I would say that the licentiate seminar is the most memorable moment so far. I tried to enjoy it and not be too nervous, and I appreciated the discussion with my opponent, Josina Vink. It was also a nice moment as I got the opportunity to celebrate this achievement together with my colleagues, family, and friends.

What kept you motivated during this journey?

I am curious and interested in my research topic, so doing research and being in an environment where I have the opportunity to be curious keeps me motivated to do what I do. But honestly, I have not been motivated every day of this journey. It has been challenging sometimes, especially during the pandemic, as I had to change my research plan.

And lastly, what will you do next?

I have already started my new research project, System Transformation for Uptime for Driverless Vehicles, which will continue for two more years. So, I am currently designing my research plan and catching up on my reading.


You can read Lina's  thesis Designing for Change in Complex Systems: Design Considerations for Uptime in a Transportation System with Driverless Vehicles, here: