Federal Minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt gives the green light for convoy journey to Rotterdam
Platooning by MAN Truck & Bus intends to reduce CO2 emissions by employing 'slipstream driving', whilst simultaneously improving traffic safety on motorways by lightening the burden on drivers.
European Truck Platooning Challenge 2016: MAN demonstrates efficiency through networking
4 April 2016: Federal Minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt gives the green light for convoy journey to Rotterdam.
The demonstration journey is part of the 'European Truck Platooning Challenge 2016' being run by the Dutch government as part of their EU Presidency. The aim of the project is to explore the potential in terms of road safety and to increase the efficiency of road freight transport. In specific terms, the project intends to reduce CO2 emissions by employing 'slipstream driving', whilst simultaneously improving traffic safety on motorways by lightening the burden on drivers. MAN Truck & Bus is participating in this research project by providing test vehicles. The MAN convoy, or 'platoon', consisting of two MAN TGX 18.480 semitrailer tractors, set off from Karlsfeld near Munich on 4 April 2016 heading for Rotterdam, which will host a demonstration of technology from all participating manufacturers on 6 April 2016 ahead of the meeting of EU transport ministers.
"Economy and environmental compatibility will require new strategies in the future. While consumption in the traditional automotive industry can only be adjusted to a limited extent through improvements in aerodynamics, lightweight construction and drive technology, digital innovations can deliver significantly greater economy," says Joachim Drees, CEO of MAN Truck & Bus AG. One possibility would be travelling in platoons.
MAN Truck & Bus is developing a vehicle system for road transport called platooning. The system involves two or more truck and trailer combinations travelling in close proximity with the aid of technical driver assistance and control systems and car-to-car communication, whilst simultaneously enhancing road safety. Thanks to this electronic 'tow bar', the longitudinal and lateral control of the vehicle to the rear is automated; in other words it follows the HGV in front. Here, the distance between each semitrailer combination is under 15 metres or around half a second of driving time. 'Slipstream driving' set up in this way enables fuel savings, depending on vehicle type and the length of the convoy, of up to ten percent for the whole platoon, bringing with it a reduction in CO2 emissions. The desired effects are best achieved at a speed of 80 km/h.
Experts also expect platooning to improve traffic flow on motorways, meaning improved traffic safety and a more efficient traffic system. Around 90% of all traffic accidents are attributable to human error, with 'longitudinal traffic accidents' such as rear-impact crashes in freight transport making up the lion's share of these, at almost 70 percent. According to the German Federal Statistical Office, the greatest source of risk on motorways is not maintaining a large enough distance. The use of modern assistance systems helps to prevent precisely this kind of situation. As platooning can only be used in the most modern vehicles, this technology will contribute to an increase in safety on the roads as a whole.
Technically speaking, it is conceivable that the platoon concept will be introduced in Europe by 2020. However, whether or not this becomes a reality will depend on regulatory frameworks and the necessary decisions being taken, and will also require a high level of cooperation between the Member States and the partners involved from industry and traffic planning (infrastructure). This includes in particular the coordination of various traffic regulations and legislation in the different countries and a uniform cross-brand system.
Platooning by MAN Truck & Bus makes a significant contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions in road transport. In addition, networked driving can optimise the safety of commercial vehicles while ensuring the best possible infrastructure usage. It helps to reduce driver stress and therefore increases road safety.
MAN Truck & Bus is developing a vehicle system for road transport called Platooning. The system allows two or more truck and trailer combinations to travel in close proximity (on motorways) with the aid of modern technical driver assistance and control systems and car-to-car communication, without compromising road safety.
The distance between each semitrailer combination is approximately 10 metres or around half a second of driving time. The primary objective of this approach is to use the generated slipstreaming effect to achieve a fuel saving of up to 10% for the entire platoon. This fuel saving also permits a reduction in CO2 emissions. Ideally, these effects will be achieved at speeds above 80 km/h.
All vehicles in the platoon, i.e. the entire procession of semitrailer combinations, are connected by an “electronic tow bar”, with the leading vehicle dictating the speed and direction of travel while the convoy is in motion. The required control commands are transmitted in data format to the following vehicles via a car-to-car communication system (ITSG5), while data from these vehicles is also sent back to the tractor vehicle. The car-to-car communication uses automotive Wi-Fi (ITS-G5) operating at a frequency of 5.9 GHz.
Platooning is expected to increase road safety, as 90% of all road accidents are caused by human error. There are more than 30,000 accidents every year in Europe alone. Modern driver assistance systems ensure that platoon driving is safe for all road users. Here is just one example of the safety functions they provide: If another road user cuts into the platoon to take the next motorway exit, the platoon is suspended and the drivers are notified. The semitrailer combinations make room for the other road user. Once the passing motorist leaves the motorway, the entire platoon returns to its original configuration. Modern assistance systems reduce driver stress and increase road safety.
It may be technically feasible to introduce the platoon concept in Europe by 2020. However, this will rely on creating the necessary regulatory frameworks and will require a high level of cooperation between the Member States and the partners involved. This includes the coordination of varying traffic regulations and legislation in the different countries.
MAN Truck & Bus and the European commercial vehicle industry are partners in the “European Truck Platooning Challenge 2016” organised by the Dutch government. As part of this project, MAN will be involved in a demonstration run from Munich to Rotterdam in early April 2016 using its platoon prototype, which consists of two MAN TGX 18480 semitrailer tractors. Using car-to-car communication (ITS-G5), the two vehicles travel along the motorway as a platoon at speeds above approx. 60 km/h, with a minimum distance of 10 metres between them. The longitudinal and lateral control of the following vehicle is also automated. The aim of the Dutch government’s project is to explore the potential in terms of road safety and to increase the efficiency of freight transport.
MAN had already undertaken the “Konvoi” research project between 2005 and 2009, which tested platoons with up to four vehicles.
|Lead vehicle||Following vehicle|
|Vehicle type/no.||TGX 18.480 4x2 LLS
|TGX 18.480 4x2 BLS
|Cab||High roof XXL||High roof XXL|
|Suspension||Air / Air||Leaf / Air|
|Engine||D2676LF25, 480 PS, Euro 6 SCR||D2676LF25, 480 PS, Euro 6 SCR|
|Nominal engine torque||2,300 Nm||2,300 Nm|
|Gearbox||ZF 12 AS 2331 DD||ZF 12 AS 2331 DD|
|Rear axle||Hypoid i = 2.71||Hypoid i = 2.71|
|Brake system||MAN BrakeMatic (electronic)||MAN BrakeMatic (electronic)|
|Retarder||Secondary: 3,200 Nm at 800 to 1,400 rpm||Secondary: 3,200 Nm at 800 to 1,400 rpm|
|Assistance systems||ESP/ ACC/ Lane Guard System (LGS) /
ABS/ ASR / Emergency Brake Assist
Chassis Damping Control
|ESP/ ACC/ Lane Guard System (LGS) /
ABS/ ASR / Emergency Brake Assist
Chassis Damping Control
|Semitrailer axles||3 axles||3 axles|
|Total vehicle weight||23 t||23 t|
|Total length (tractor vehicle and semitrailer)||16.5 m||16.5 m|
|Total length of platoon at 10 m spacing||43 m||-|