Autonomous

Researchers see great potential in platooning

DB Schenker, MAN Truck & Bus and Fresenius University of Applied Sciences recently participated in platooning-project.

The term “platooning” refers to a system that vehicles use on the road in which at least two trucks drive in a tight convoy on a motorway, supported by technical driving assistance and control systems. All vehicles driving in the platoon are electronically linked to each other. The truck in front sets the speed and direction, and the others follow.

The participants announced the successful completion of the pilot project and presented the research results at the final event at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) in Berlin (l.t.r.).

They concluded that operating electronically linked trucks on German motorways is safe, technically reliable and easily applicable in the routine of a logistics company.

As part of a research project was sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). The professional drivers drove two electronically linked vehicles on the Autobahn 9 between the Nuremberg and Munich branches of the logistics company DB Schenker over the course of seven months.

Having covered some 35,000 test kilometers, the truck drivers, who drove at a distance of only 15 to 21 meters, praised the driving comfort and the general sense of safety. The field test also demonstrated savings in fuel consumption.

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) contributed funding of approx. 1.86 million euros to the research project. The project partners DB Schenker, MAN Truck & Bus and the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences presented the results at the Ministry. According to the project partners, the use of truck platoons could ensure more efficient use of space on motorways, less congestion and increased road safety.

The platooning system installed in the MAN trucks operated smoothly 98% of the time. Active interventions by the driver were necessary only once every 2,000 kilometers, which is much less than expected. In addition, the pilot project demonstrated a 3 to 4 percent reduction in fuel consumption.

Scientists from the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences investigated the psychosocial and neurophysiological effects on the drivers. Having experienced the actual field test brought about a significant change in the previously sceptical attitude of the drivers.

The project partners are convinced that the potential of truck platooning can be further increased by future developments. In addition, new digital business models in logistics are conceivable.

Source: Press Release

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