MAN has seen further potential in platooning after the successful completion of a seven-month pilot project run alongside logistics company DB Schenker.
As part of research sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, drivers drove two electronically linked vehicles on the autobahn between Nuremberg and Munich branches of DB Schenker. Described as a “real-life platooning trial”, the trucks transported goods as opposed to concrete blocks used during other manufacturers’ trials. Through electronics, the trucks connected with the first dictating the speed and direction.
An MAN spokesman said: “The system allows the trucks to talk to each other. One press of a button in the cab is all it takes for the trucks to connect and start platooning.
“Should one driver wish to leave the platoon, he can by pressing the same button or, if drivers don’t want to platoon, they can decline invites from other trucks.”
Having covered approximately 35,000km with the trucks 15m to 21m apart, the drivers praised the comfort and the sense of safety provided by the platooning process. The project resulted in fuel savings of between 4% and 5%.
Joachim Drees, chairman of the management board of MAN Truck & Bus, said: “We were able to show that platooning has the potential to contribute to the reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. First and foremost, we are pleased that the system works reliably and can increase safety on the motorway.”
Earlier this year, rival Daimler announced that it would not start any new truck platooning trials, having discovered that, in the real world, it offered just a 1% improvement in fuel economy.