Autonomous Trucks: MAN wins “IToY Truck Innovation Award 2024”

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 Research and development projects ANITA and ATLAS-L4 honoured with prestigious future prize from the International Truck of the Year (IToY) Jury

MAN Truck & Bus has received the “Truck Innovation Award 2024” from the International Truck of the Year jury. The commercial vehicle manufacturer was honoured for its research and development projects in the field of autonomous driving – ANITA and ATLAS-L4. In his laudatory speech, jury chairman Gianenrico Griffini, representing 25 international truck trade journalists, emphasised “the advanced characteristics of both projects, the contribution to hub-to-hub and intermodal transport automation, and the fruitful project cooperation between MAN Truck & Bus, logistics providers, component suppliers, research institutions, and public infrastructure operators” as essential for the Truck Innovation Award 2024 to be presented to the MAN projects ANITA and ATLAS-L4 for autonomous driving.

“The award is not only a great honour for ANITA and ATLAS-L4 and the partners involved. It is also an acknowledgement of the achievements of all our colleagues at MAN, who have been driving automated driving forward with great expertise and passion for many years. Alongside digitalisation and CO2-free drives, this is the third key pillar in the transformation to the climate-friendly, safe, efficient and intelligently networked transport of the future. From 2030, we want to offer autonomous trucks in series production for transport on defined routes between logistics hubs,” says Dr Frederik Zohm, Executive Board Member for Research and Development at MAN Truck & Bus.

Autonomous trucks are particularly useful for transport on motorways between logistics centres (hub-to-hub): they increase safety by helping to avoid rear-end collisions caused by fatigue, are always particularly energy-efficient and stabilise the logistics flow thanks to their independence from individual driving time breaks. They can also help to alleviate the driver shortage by freeing up drivers for more varied and attractive transport tasks in regional and distribution transport.

ATLAS-L4: autonomous driving on the motorway

“In the ATLAS-L4 project, we are developing autonomous driving on the motorway specifically for the hub-to-hub use case. We are using the framework of the law on autonomous driving passed in Germany in 2021, which already allows the use of driverless lorries on defined routes with technical supervision. We want to test a corresponding prototype vehicle on the road by the end of 2024,” says Sebastian Völl, Project Manager Autonomous Driving at MAN Truck & Bus. Since January 2022, MAN Truck & Bus, Knorr-Bremse, Leoni, Bosch, Fernride, BTC Embedded Systems, Fraunhofer AISEC, Technische Universität München, Technische Universität Braunschweig, TÜV SÜD, Autobahn GmbH and the Würzburg Institute of Transport Sciences (WIVW GmbH) have been working together on the research and development project “Autonomous Transport on Motorways and Expressways at Level 4” (ATLAS-L4), which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection.

ANITA: autonomous driving in a container hub

Together with Deutsche Bahn, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences and Götting KG, MAN investigated the integration of autonomous trucks within logistics hubs as part of the “Autonomous Innovation in Terminal Operations” (ANITA) research and development project, which is also funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection. To this end, MAN developed a self-driving lorry that autonomously handles container loading from road to rail with the help of digital mission planning. After six months of practical tests conducted jointly with the partners at the DB Intermodal Services container depot and the DUSS container terminal in Ulm, it was clear at the end of the project in September 2023 that the autonomous truck was up to 40 per cent more productive than conventional vehicles and thus showed great potential to make environmentally friendly combined road and rail freight transport more efficient, predictable and flexible. “The special thing about ANITA was the complete digital integration of the autonomous lorry into the terminal process. This is a general prerequisite for the use of autonomous trucks in logistics,” says Amelie Jacquemart-Purson, ANITA project manager at MAN Truck & Bus.

Second Truck Innovation Award for MAN Truck & Bus

This is the second time that the prestigious Truck Innovation Award 2024 has gone to an MAN automation project. In 2019, the automated construction site safety vehicle AFAS won the coveted industry prize at its very first edition.