MAN Becomes First Commercial Vehicle Company to Send an Autonomous Truck on German Motorway

22/04/2024 - 16:34 | Commercial Vehicles | IAB Team

MAN has become the first commercial vehicle manufacturer to send an autonomous truck onto the German motorway. On board the test truck, which drove around ten kilometres on the A9 between the Allershausen and Fürholzen junctions, were Federal Transport Minister Dr Volker Wissing and MAN CEO Alexander Vlaskamp.

Man Autonomous Truck German Highway Front

MAN has been intensively driving forward the development of autonomous trucks for use in logistics hubs and for hub-to-hub traffic on motorways for some time and recently became the first commercial vehicle manufacturer to receive a Level 4 test permit based on the law on autonomous driving on German motorways.

Freight volumes and, in particular, transport between logistics hubs – such as the warehouses of large online department stores – are growing steadily. The use of autonomous trucks in this so-called hub-to-hub transport is particularly suitable for this. The trucks are always on the road, extremely efficient in terms of consumption and safe to drive. There are no driving time breaks, so the vehicles can be perfectly integrated into tightly synchronised logistics processes. In the long term, the efficient use of autonomous trucks can reduce overall operating costs by ten to 15 per cent. The new technology can also alleviate the driver shortage. There is already a shortage of up to 100,000 truck drivers in Germany alone.

Man Autonomous Truck German Highway Route Map

For the test drive of the first autonomous truck, Autobahn GmbH examined MAN’s concept as part of the application for a test licence before the Federal Motor Transport Authority officially granted MAN approval at the beginning of April. In future, Autobahn GmbH will also be responsible for approving operating areas on motorways for the series approval of autonomous vehicles. The vehicle operator specifies the routes on which its vehicles with autonomous driving functions are to drive, and Autobahn GmbH then checks whether these routes are suitable for the operation of these vehicles with autonomous driving functions.

MAN with many years of development expertise in autonomous driving

MAN has been driving autonomous driving forward for many years with various research and development projects. From 2017 to 2019, MAN developed and tested electronically coupled trucks in a joint research and development project with DB Schenker. These particularly safe and fuel-efficient platoons were used for more than six months in regular general cargo transport on the A9 motorway between Neufahrn and Nuremberg.

Man Autonomous Truck German Highway People

From 2019 to 2023, the ANITA project with partners Deutsche Bahn, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences and Götting KG focused on the complete digital integration of an autonomous truck into the logistics process of container handling from road to rail. And since 2022, MAN has been working together with Autobahn GmbH and other partners from industry, science and technical testing in the ATLAS-L4 project to develop an autonomous truck for use in motorway transport between logistics hubs.

The project is thus specifically implementing the law on autonomous driving passed in Germany in 2021, which already allows driverless driving on clearly defined routes and with technical supervision. Practical test drives of the prototype with a safety driver on the motorway are planned at the end of the project. To date, MAN has filed 133 patent applications in the field of autonomous driving, 33 of which have already been granted. By participating in the @CITY, BeIntelli and MINGA projects, MAN is also involved in the development of automated driving for city buses.

You might also like

Most Viewed