Platooning in the logistics industry: world's first practical use of networked truck convoys in Germany

  • Research project of DB Schenker, MAN Truck & Bus, and Hochschule Fresenius starts in the test phase on the A9 highway
  • As the world's first logistics provider, DB Schenker, together with its cooperation partners MAN Truck & Bus and Hochschule Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, today sent two digitally networked trucks into practical use.

In the presence of Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure Andreas Scheuer, a truck "platoon" set off from the DB Schenker branch office in Neufahrn near Munich via the A9 digital test field to Nuremberg. The federal government is funding the pilot project with around EUR 2 million.

Federal Transportation Minister Andreas Scheuer said: "This is a visionary research project for our digital test site, the A9 highway. The project marks the start of the automated and networked future of road haulage. We bring tomorrow's technology onto today's roads, testing the intelligent interaction of man, machine and material. Our opportunities: logistics processes—from ramp to customer—can become safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly. And truck drivers can become modern logistics specialists in digital trucks.

Strategic partnerships as innovation drivers

The regular test runs of the networked trucks begin as of today, June 25, along the 145-kilometer route. Trials are being carried out without any loads until early August. After that, the platoons will be on the road every day, making up to three routine logistics trips and laden with part loads of, for example, machine parts, drinks, or paper

The project partners are thus doing pioneering work. "This first use of truck platoons in Germany will set new standards in the logistics market, from which our customers will benefit first and foremost," said Alexander Doll, DB Board Member for Freight Transport and Logistics. "With this project, DB Schenker is showing what matters for companies all over the world in the future: advancing innovations through new partnerships."

By using this technology, DB Schenker is expanding its digital business model. "Today, we at DB are once again bringing a new technology to the road. With the platooning project, we are further expanding our pioneering role in the field of autonomous and networked driving," emphasized Prof. Dr. Sabina Jeschke, DB Board Member for Digitalization and Technology.

With MAN Truck & Bus and DB Schenker, two of the world's leadingcompanies in their sectors are cooperating to jointly promote the subject of automated driving. "It's not just about using a technology. It's about integrating it effectively into the entire logistics chain. The findings from the joint project are an important step towards series development. This will give MAN a leading role in the automation and digitization of commercial vehicles," said Joachim Drees, CEO of MAN Truck & Bus AG.