As of April, DB Schenker drivers will be testing two networked MAN trucks on the autobahn. Shown in the portrait picture are (l. to r.) Dr. Frederik Zohm, Member of the Management Board for Research and Development MAN Truck & Bus AG, Ewald Kaiser, Chief Operating Officer DB Schenker, Prof. Dr. Christian T. Haas, Head of the Institute for Complex Health Research at Hochschule Fresenius
Photos: Deutsche Bahn AG / MAN / Wolfgang Groeger-Meier
Under the heading “Platooning,” DB Schenker, MAN and the University of Applied Sciences, Hochschule Fresenius, will for the first time be deploying networked trucks in realistic logistics operations. The project is now set to launch the first autobahn trials: as of April, a platoon consisting of two MAN trucks will complete individual runs, initially without cargo. Later this year the trucks will carry actual cargo and operate regularly between two DB Schenker terminals in Munich and Nuremberg.
The aim of these first test runs is to investigate driving conditions in the daily flow of traffic and to train the participating drivers from DB Schenker to operate the vehicles. Specialists from the truck manufacturer MAN will provide intensive training both on the autobahn and on a driving simulator. This phase of the project will be accompanied by scientists from the Idstein campus of Hochschule Fresenius in Germany, who will document the impact of this technology on the drivers.
Platooning involves at least two electronically coupled trucks traveling in close succession. The driver of the lead vehicle is in charge of steering, accelerating and braking. Truck platoons are credited with increasing road safety. As the following truck drives in close proximity to the lead vehicle, it benefits from the slipstream, thus reducing fuel consumption and lowering CO2 emissions. One of the aims of this project is to examine this and other effects in greater detail. MAN recently handed over the pilot vehicles equipped with the relevant technology to DB Schenker.
You can read more on the platooning project being trialed by DB Schenker, MAN and Hochschule Fresenius in the next edition of “logistics NewsFeed.”