Automated column trucks save less fuel than expected

Automated column trucks save less fuel than expected

A saving of around 8 to 10 percent had been hoped for. At the end of last year, MAN truck& bus tested platooning for several months on a test track in bavaria together with DB schenker, a rail logistics subsidiary, and the fresenius university of applied sciences.

Trucks controlled by the computer drive closely behind each other in a convoy. Platooning is considered one of the development steps on the way to self-driving trucks, which are intended to make good transport on the road more favorable and safer. The ministry of transport is requesting almost 1.9 million euros for the project.

In the test with diesel trucks, the front truck consumed 1.3 percent less fuel than normal trucks. The following truck saved 3 to 4 percent because of the slipstream. A MAN employee explained that the convoy generates different wind vortices overall than a single truck and is therefore braked less.

MAN boss joachim drees believes, however, that higher fuel savings are possible in practical operation. In the test, there were conditions that increased fuel consumption, such as regular decoupling of the column or no use of certain fuel-saving systems. In addition, the test route – the A 9 near munich and nurnberg – was very busy.

Overall, the project partners draw a positive conclusion from the test. According to alexander doll, member of the railroads board of management responsible for freight transport, logistics and finance, platooning could be ready for series production by the middle or end of the 2020s.

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