MAN Truck & Bus
The autonomous, targeted driving of a vehicle in real traffic using on-board sensors, downstream software and map material in the vehicle to register the vehicle's environment.
The intercommunication between vehicles (car-to-car) and with the infrastructure, such as traffic lights or traffic guidance systems (car-to-infrastructure).
Greater road safety: car-to-X communication warns drivers of hazards in good time and automated driving also means that a vehicle can autonomously brake or change lanes. In addition to these safety measures, automation can contribute to better efficiency and protection of resources.
Six levels from 0 to 5 have been developed on a national and international basis to classify the degree of automation. This classification describes the system tasks and driver requirements.
Assisted and partial automation (levels 1 and 2) are in line with German road traffic regulations and international standards that require a driver to be able to control or drive the vehicle. This is not the case with conditional automation (level 3), where during a journey drivers can turn their attention to things other than driving. Legal changes on a national and international basis in 2016 and 2017 did however significantly extend the space for automated driving. Discussions are currently ongoing as to whether the new regulations create legal certainty for level 3 or even for level 4 (high automation). What is certain is that full automation (level 5) is not yet covered.
More information on the legal situation can be found here.
Radar: measures distances from objects and relative speeds using microwaves
Mono or stereo cameras: support the detection of obstacles and hazards
Ultrasound sensors: measure distances from objects at close range
LIDAR: measures distances from objects and relative speeds using ultraviolet, infrared radiation or visible light
The German government is paving the way for modern, clean, accessible and affordable mobility – and is relying on digital innovations, automated and connected driving technologies and the use of artificial intelligence methodology. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is therefore funding research and innovation in these fields.
Together with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi), the BMVI concluded the Research Programme on Automation and Connectivity in Road Transport in around July 2019. The ministries defined three guiding principles:
1. Autonomous driving must be safe
2. Autonomous driving must be efficient, sustainable, clean, socially accessible and find widespread acceptance in society
3. Germany's leadership in automotive technology should also be secured in the long term by autonomous driving
Together with seven partners from industry, research and administration, MAN undertook the aFAS research project ("automatisch fahrerlos fahrendes Absicherungsfahrzeug für Arbeitsstellen auf Bundesautobahnen" [automatic driverless safety vehicles for construction sites on German motorways]). This developed and tested the prototypes for a safety vehicle and involved a driverless and fully automated MAN TGM 18.340 with cameras, radar equipment, various assistance systems, some specially developed ambient sensors and built-in object and lane marking detectors.
More info here.
The EDDI project ("Elektronische Deichsel – Digitale Innovation" [Electronic Tow Bar – Digital Innovation]) offered a world première: for five months, professional truck drivers drove dummy weights, then real goods on two MAN TGX articulated trains at a maximum speed of 80 kilometres per hour between DB Schenker terminals in Munich and Nuremberg on the almost 145-kilometre-long digital test section of the A9. This involved the rear vehicle using a special WLAN connection for vehicle-to-vehicle communication as well as multiple redundant sensors and various assistance systems to follow the acceleration, braking and steering of the lead vehicle – synchronously, without active input from the driver and at a distance of around 15 metres. The platoon was terminated in particular situations, such as at motorway intersections.
More info here.
MAN and Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) have been using the "Hamburg TruckPilot" project to test automated and driverless trucks driving in real deployments to move from the check-in gate to the block storage lane at the HHLA Container Terminal Altenwerder (CTA) in Hamburg. Subsequent plans include using an approximately 70-kilometre-long section of the A7 as a test environment. The aim is to analyse how driverless trucks are integrated into the fully automatic container handling process and to define forward-looking standards for methodology and implementation.
More info here.
The ANITA project ("Autonome Innovation im Terminalablauf" [Autonomous Innovation in Terminal Procedures]) aims to achieve more efficient container handling. It involves MAN collaborating with Deutsche Bahn, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences and Götting AG to test more flexible container handling under real conditions by using a fully automated truck at the DUSS terminal in Dornstadt near Ulm. There will be a safety driver on board, but the plan is for the fully automated MAN truck to move around DB Intermodal Services container depot and the terminal in Dornstadt. An experienced crane driver will be responsible for handling the containers. ANITA is setting new standards for digitisation in combined transport and the digital infrastructure is now being installed on site.
More info here.
Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology, ensures that different vehicles can communicate with each other and thus drive in a platoon, for example. Until now, this only worked between vehicles of one brand. As part of the EU-funded Ensemble project, the seven European truck manufacturers, together with various suppliers and partners, have developed a cross-manufacturer V2V communication protocol. The first platoon made up of vehicles from different brands drove around Barcelona in September 2021. In the medium term, an EU standard is to be created on this basis. Hauliers who have vehicles of different brands in their fleet would then be able to combine them in a platoon for example.
More infos here.
The driver performs the longitudinal control of the vehicle (i.e. maintaining speed, accelerating and braking) and the lateral control (i.e. steering). There are no systems that intervene, only those that issue warnings.
A system can assume either longitudinal or lateral control of the vehicle, while the driver continuously performs the other task. Certain assistance systems only help with operation of the vehicle.
The driver can relinquish both tasks, i.e. longitudinal and lateral control, to the system in a certain use case. The driver continuously monitors the vehicle and the traffic during the journey. At all times they must be in a position to immediately resume control of the vehicle.
The system independently recognises its limits, that is the point at which its functions can no longer cope with the environmental conditions. In this case, the vehicle requests the driver to resume the task of driving. Drivers no longer have to continuously monitor the longitudinal and lateral control of the vehicle. However, they must be able to resume driving when the system signals them to do so.
The driver can hand over the entire task of driving to the system in specific use cases. These scenarios refer to the type of road, the speed range and the environmental conditions. Here too the driver can be requested to resume the task of driving, but the system can take the vehicle from any initial situation to a system state of minimum risk if the driver fails to intervene.
The vehicle can completely independently perform the task of driving in full on all types of roads, in all speed ranges and under all environmental conditions. Human intervention is no longer required except to determine the destination and start the system.
So MAN is already equipped for the mobility of the future. It will be able to offer exactly the services that the market demands once the technology has reached readiness for series production. This manufacturer's involvement in innovative projects also demonstrates that it is meeting its responsibility to assure the safety of its entire system..
MAN is focusing on three major steps:
MAN will only test the hub-to-hub applications on the roads when the safety of the technology has been reliably proven in the first two steps and once the official approval procedures have been clarified. As to the final step towards autonomous driving becoming a reality, there is still a need for a legal framework and legal clarification of how the responsibility for highly automated driving is to be distributed between manufacturer, vehicle owner and driver.