Industry News

A Lot More to Come in the Future

The development of safety systems in future trucks has to be specifically designed for highly automated driving and there is going to be a lot more to come in the future, according to Stefan Pahl, Director Application Engineering and Technical Sales Knorr Bremse. Systems will be a lot more precise and, and what we then also need is a certain level of redundancy of certain mission critical systems.

Additional hardware will come into play but there may already be systems fitted to the trailer which could be utilised by any safety system, to help in the task. There may not be a need to double-up on everything. Spring brakes on a trailer already have two chambers and Knorr Bremse has already tested ABS via the spring brakes, this may be used as a back-up braking option.

“In the future, it will not only be one trailer EBS, there will also be a second one,” says Stefan. “Maybe not as complicated as the main one. What we expect to see on trailers will be something similar to what we now have on a truck, a central ECU on board, which is controlling all of the environment on the trailer.

“We need to have reliable information about the health status of the trailer. If you have some kind of vehicle combination where no driver is on board anymore, you would still need to know how the vehicle combination really performs.

“We will need to know whether the level of braking performance that we can get out of this or that part of the combination is really sufficient. In the past, we talked about platooning, and that was a kind of hot topic, but if you want to consider something like that, where you would really like to reduce the distance between the vehicles, you will need to be pretty confident that the braking performance of all these vehicle in combinations would be somewhat similar.

“You also need to know if you have any kind of change to the road surface. If you enter, into an area where the front vehicle is on a slippery road, then it cannot provide the same braking performance as the one behind it.

“There’s a lot of topics that we would need to understand in the future. The health status of all of the components is mission critical. So you need to have some much more sophisticated diagnostic capabilities to really understand what the systems are capable of at that moment, and it will be an interesting challenge getting all of that knowledge into the workshops later on.”

As the trucks and trailer get more and more sophisticated and at the same time the trucks are becoming more and more reliant on automated systems, the personnel in the workshop who maintain these vehicles need to be capable of servicing everything. Driver intervention is going to be less critical, but the fact that the automatic system has a number of failsafe functions is going to be vital.

“If you look at the kind of effort our team has spent building up a service network in Australia and New Zealand, that is not a trivial job,” says Stefan. “Finding the right workshop partners, qualifying them, having a reliable overview of which skill set they have in place, so that when someone from a fleet calls us with a problem, you need to have enough confidence that you can send them to the right spot and someone is able to help them.

“With those much more complex systems in the future, we will have amazing challenges, and we’re going to have to engineer those complex systems onto different vehicles all the time, which is already currently a challenge.”


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