MAN Truck and Bus is to begin platooning trials with German logistics firm DB Schenker, following the official handover of test vehicles.
Platooning comprises a number of trucks equipped with state-of-the-art driving support systems – one closely following the other. This forms a convoy with the trucks driven by smart technology, and mutually communicating with one another.
With the following trucks braking immediately, with zero reaction time, platooning can improve traffic safety. Platooning is also a cost-saver as the trucks drive close together at a constant speed. This means lower fuel consumption and less CO2 emissions.
And, lastly, platooning efficiently boosts traffic flows reducing tailbacks. Meanwhile, the short distance between vehicles means less space taken up on the road.
The joint project, with involvement from Hochschule Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, was set up in May 2017, with test truck convoys to operate as a part of DB Schenker’s scheduled operations on the A9 between Munich and Nuremberg.
The forthcoming tests will also see MAN test drivers replaced by professional truck drivers employed by DB Schenker for the first time, with initial trials taking place with empty trailers.
Later in 2018, the platoons will operate up to three times per day with actual cargo, with support from Hochschule Fresenius in documenting, evaluating and assessing the outcomes of the trials.
Dr. Frederik Zohm, member of the management board for Research and Development MAN Truck & Bus AG, said: “We have already proved that platooning technology works in various predecessor projects, such as the European Truck Platooning Challenge in 2016. Adapting this technology to the real everyday conditions of the logistics sector is the challenge we are now tackling.”
Ewald Kaiser, chief operating officer at DB Schenker added: “Autonomous and networked driving will fundamentally change road haulage. This project will focus on testing platooning for the first time in daily logistics operations. So we’re excited that we can now integrate the vehicles into the operational test runs.”