Here is a video of the ongoing series of trials of autonomous trucks taking place in Germany which have lead to an innovation award for MAN. The 2024 Truck Innovation Award, awarded by the International Truck of the Year jury has been presented to MAN for it’s autonomous driving projects ATLAS-L4 and ANITA.
The International Truck of the Year journalists presented Frederik Zohm, Executive Board Member for R&D at MAN Truck & Bus, with the prestigious award during the press day of Solutrans, the biennial trade fair for haulage and urban transport professionals, in Lyon, France.
It’s the second time MAN Truck & Bus has won this trophy, after the inaugural Truck Innovation Award edition of 2019 in recognition of its aFAS Level 4 automated driverless safety truck.
The Truck Innovation Award, which acknowledges the enormous technological changes and energy transition within the automotive sector, has been awarded by the OToY jury, which comprises 25 commercial vehicle editors and senior journalists representing major trucking magazines from Europe and South Africa.
With a winning score of 97 votes, MAN’s advanced projects fought off the competition from ZF electrified eAxle, Quantron-as-a-service (QaaS), a zero-emission platform provider for fuel cell and battery electric commercial vehicles, and Westwell Q-Truck, an autonomous electric heavy-duty truck for innovative container logistics.
The IToY journalists praised the advanced characteristics of both MAN projects, the contribution to hub-to-hub and intermodal transport automation, and the fruitful cooperation between MAN Truck & Bus, component suppliers, research institutions, and public authorities.
Summing up the jury vote, International Truck of the Year Chairman Gianenrico Griffini commented, “MAN’s ANITA AND ATLAS-L4 projects are proof that autonomous driving is feasible today and can have a role in making transport operations safer and more efficient, laying the foundation for innovative transport and logistics concepts”.
The ANITA project, Autonomous Innovation in Terminal Operations, started in 2020 to automate handling between different modes of transport. ANITA aims to use autonomous trucks to stabilise the processes involved in transferring containers from road to rail, making them more efficient, easier to plan, and, at the same time, more flexible.
The ATLAS-L4 research and development project (Automated Transport between Logistics Centres on Level 4 Expressways) aims to put Level 4 autonomous trucks on the road in real-world operations. The project stems from the German law on autonomous driving approved in 2021, which, in principle, allows automated driving on defined routes under technical supervision.
The vehicle has already successfully covered its first kilometres at MAN’s Munich test site. Functionalities and interfaces were put to the test: for the first time, the components communicated with each other and, for the first time, the sensors performed a realistic environment detection.
The safety-relevant subsystems for the Level 4 architecture, the vehicle electrical system, steering system and redundant braking system, have also been designed and successfully tested in the first prototypes.
The Control Centre for technical supervision was successfully commissioned in September 2023 and the connection to the vehicle installed. The web interface now displays the vehicle on a map with all relevant information such as speed and automation status.
MAN and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security AISEC successfully conducted the risk analysis for the vehicle that accompanied the project. On this basis, cybersecurity measures such as authentic and encrypted communication as well as functional security measures such as redundancies and degradation concepts were defined for the autonomous driving system. In the process, extensive attack and failure scenarios are run through and corresponding protection concepts are developed.
The next steps
The next major milestone is running on public roads: The test vehicle is expected to take its first trips on the highway before the end of the year, naturally also with a safety driver on board. All milestones contribute to the long-term goal of ATLAS-L4: proving that the use of Level 4 automated and thus driverless vehicles on the highway is feasible.
This is the cornerstone for future series applications for a Logistics 4.0, made possible by the network provided by the strong consortium of ATLAS-L4. The project will run until December 2024, at the end of which there should be an industry-ready concept for the operation of automated trucks on the highway.
The International Truck of the Year (IToY) award was initially launched in 1977 by the British journalist and legendary editor of TRUCK magazine Pat Kennett. Today, the 24 jury members represent leading commercial vehicle magazines throughout Europe. Moreover, in the last few years, the IToY Group has extended its influence by appointing ‘associate members in the growing truck markets of China, India, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Iran, New Zealand, Israel, and Malaysia. The combined truck operator readership of the 24 IToY full-jury members’ magazines and those of its ten associate members exceeds 1,100,000.