MAN Truck & Bus



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Mobility 4.0: autonomous vehicles, truck convoys on motorways, drivers not having to touch the steering wheel, container handling as if controlled by magic – all pure dreams of the future? Nothing of the sort! Automated driving offers a lot of potential in terms of efficiency and safety, especially in the transport sector. Even today, as MAN has already proven in numerous pilot projects. Yet there are still challenges to overcome on the path to the fully autonomous vehicle. An overview.

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FAQs on automation

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What advantages does the autonomous vehicle offer and what technology is actually used? The most important questions and answers on a complex topic.

  • What is “automated driving”?

    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.

  • What is “connecting” / “car-to-X”?

    The intercommunication between vehicles (car-to-car) and with the infrastructure, such as traffic lights or traffic guidance systems (car-to-infrastructure).

  • What are the advantages of automation in road traffic?

    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.

  • What are the technical stages of development?

    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.

  • What is the legal situation?

    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.

  • Which sensors and technology are used?

    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

  • What is the state of the national strategy on automation?

    Research Programme on Automation and Connectivity in Road Transport

    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

    More information

In which automation projects is MAN Truck & Bus involved?

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MAN Truck & Bus is step by step advancing transport automation – not via theoretical concept papers, but in real operating conditions. And always based on specific customer applications that contribute true added value. An overview of already completed and ongoing automation projects made by MAN:

The automation levels

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Assisted, partially automated, conditionally automated, highly automated, fully automated: These are the five steps on the way to the autonomous vehicle. And that is what they mean.

Level 0

Driver only

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.

Level 1


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.

Level 2

Partial automation

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.

Level 3

Conditional automation

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.

Level 4

High automation

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.

Level 5

Full automation

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.

MAN's roadmap

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Already prepared for tomorrow: MAN is advancing automation – not just for the sake of it, but rather in projects that have a specific customer requirement as their starting point.

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:

  • initially simple hub applications in defined areas like in the “Hamburg TruckPilot” project (Level 2/3),
  • then complex hub applications in fixed areas, as are currently being addressed in the “ANITA” project (Level 4),
  • and finally hub-to-hub applications including using the motorway – first of all with a safety driver (Level 4) through to the first driverless projects (Level 5) in a few years.

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.

Aerial view of a container terminal

This is how hub-to-hub traffic works

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The digital future of logistics is coming into view. Terminal 4.0 is already a reality, and in the near future driverless commercial vehicles will open up the path to Logistics 4.0. So-called hub-to-hub transport enables the autonomous transport of goods on federal highways and trunk roads, between important logistics hubs. More information in the video on the MAN vision.

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