DB Schenker and MAN have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to that effect and are initially planning to define the fundamental conditions for the project and subsequent practical trials. In 2018, they plan to operate a truck platoon on the Digital Motorway Testbed on the A9 motorway between the DB Schenker branches in Munich and Nuremberg. The second phase will involve the deployment of self-driving trucks on the DB Schenker grounds in Nuremberg.
Platooning refers to a system of vehicles for use in road traffic in which at least two trucks drive on the motorway with only a short distance between them with the help of technical driver assistance and control systems. All the vehicles in the platoon are linked up to each other by means of electronic “drawbars” in the form of car-to-car communication. The leading vehicle determines the speed and direction.
The distance between the individual trucks is around ten metres, equivalent to roughly half a second’s driving time. The electronic links between the individual vehicles in the platoon guarantee the safety of operations. The primary objective of this procedure is to enable slipstreaming and thus achieve fuel savings of up to ten per cent for the entire platoon. The reduction in fuel consumption also reduces carbon emissions.