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MAN driver assistance systems in successful test: lower fuel consumption, greater safety

European field test euroFOT confirms positive effect of electronic driver assistance systems from MAN in real road traffic.

The field test showed that MAN's driver assistance systems not only increase safety in the daily traffic but also have positive effects on fuel consumption. Using adaptive cruise control (ACC), the trucks consumed an average of almost two percent less diesel fuel over the course of the test. MAN participated in the four-year research project with a total of 57 trucks belonging to 21 haulage companies. The trucks tested in European long-haul transport were equipped with the MAN adaptive cruise control and lane guard driver assistance systems and covered more than 7.5 million kilometres by the end of the field test in June this year. The test studied the effectiveness of electronic driver assistance systems in road traffic with respect to safety, the environment, utilisation and acceptance by drivers. There were three phases to the test: subsequent to the specification phase including pilot operation, the 16-month field test commenced. During this phase, an analysis of driving behaviour was conducted, first without assistance systems, then with adaptive cruise control and the lane guard system (LGS). Information about the drivers' subjective experience was also collected, which provided insights into the influence and usefulness of the systems in everyday work. The field test concluded with an impact analysis.

To record the data produced on the road, the trucks were fitted with data loggers that sent their results to a central project server for further processing. In cooperation between MAN's own specialist and the other partners in the project, the data was analysed and evaluated. The results from the field test as well as the drivers' evaluations clearly show the positive effect of the MAN driver assistance systems in real road traffic.

Results from the field test

Thanks to adaptive cruise control, it was possible to reduce heavy braking and critical events such as sudden evasive manoeuvres, for example, by more than 35 percent. The number of occasions on which the distance to the vehicle ahead was critical was halved on average. Where adaptive cruise control was not used, an average of six critical events occurred on a typical daily run of approximately 600 kilometres: with the system, this was reduced to just one. ACC also makes a contribution to environmentally friendly driving, with the fuel consumption of the vehicles operated during the test decreasing by two percent while their average speed increased by around one percent. Utilisation of the lane guard system convinced, with improvement in keeping the vehicle on track as well as smoother steering behaviour. LGS also positively influenced drivers with respect to their willingness to use direction indicators when changing lanes.

Results from the driver survey

The results from surveys of the drivers underscore the positive insights from the data collected in the field tests. 94 percent of drivers found that adaptive cruise control significantly improved safety. 77 percent of those surveyed said that ACC made driving more comfortable. Most participants used ACC as often as possible, by preference on motorways and federal highways. The drivers also found ACC helpful on stretches where overtaking is forbidden, when driving at night and under poor weather conditions. The operation of LGS was also particularly convincing under such conditions. When acquiring a new truck, ACC is in first place on the list of equipment that drivers would like to see. Overall, participants in the survey rated adaptive cruise control as one of the most important assistant systems in a truck.

Adaptive cruise control and the lane guard system are offered in the heavy truck series and successively in coaches of the MAN and NEOPLAN brands. LGS is also available in the vehicles of the new light and medium TG series. MAN is applying the valuable lessons learned from the field test to the optimisation and further development of driver assistance systems. Similarly, the data collected is already being used for the requirements analyses for up-coming projects.

euroFOT (first large-scale European Field Operational Test on driver assis-tance systems) is an extensive, European-wide project with active, intelligent on-board vehicle systems. In the course of the project, which started in May 2008, more than 1,000 cars and trucks were equipped with a range of intelligent technologies to make road traffic more efficient, safer and more comfortable. In total, 28 companies and institutions in ten different countries participated in the research project, testing a variety of systems that assist drivers in early awareness of risks and hazards to enhance road safety.

Using adaptive cruise control (ACC), the trucks consumed an average of almost two percent less diesel fuel over the course of the test.

Utilisation of the lane guard system convinced, with improvement in keeping the vehicle on track as well as smoother steering behaviour. LGS also positively influenced drivers with respect to their willingness to use direction indicators when changing lanes.