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MAN tests first autonomous truck on motorway

MAN conducts first autonomous truck motorway test in Germany, advancing towards commercial production of self-driving trucks by decade's end.

Technology

The first autonomous truck test on a motorway has taken place in Germany. The MAN HGV drove 10km on the A9 between the Allershausen and Furholzen junctions and is one of a series of tests as the manufacturer works towards the production of autonomous trucks towards the end of the decade.

Alexander Vlaskamp, chairman of the executive board of MAN Truck & Bus, said:

We are taking another big step towards autonomous commercial vehicles, the second major future field alongside the switch to CO2 drivers. Further projects will follow from 2025, but then in typical customer applications. We are taking the next development step towards series production of autonomous trucks towards the end of the decade.

Dr Volker Wissing, federal minister for digital affairs and transport, added:

The ever-increasing volume of transport, coupled with the worsening shortage of drivers, is a challenge for society as a whole. Autonomous trucks can help to alleviate the situation. In addition, the intelligent networking of freight transport offers the opportunity to make transhipment from road to rail more efficient and thus strengthen climate-friendly combined transport.

MAN has been driving autonomous vehicles forwards for many years with various research and development projects.

From 2019 to 2023, it had been working in the ANITA project with partners Deutsche Bahn, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences and Gotting KG to focus on the complete digital integration of an autonomous truck into the logistics process of container handling from road to rail.

The project is specifically implementing the law on autonomous driving passed in Germany in 2021, which already allows driverless driving on clearly defined routes and with technical supervision.

Practical test drives of the prototype with a safety driver on the motorway are planned at the end of the project. In the UK, the Government announced self-driving legislation in the King’s Speech in November last year. It said the automated vehicles bill would unlock a transport revolution by enabling the safe deployment of self-driving vehicles.

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