MAN has announced that as part of a research and development project to enable autonomous trucks to operate under technical supervision on specific routes. The company has developed a prototype vehicle with sensors and computers for data collection, and has also completed initial test drives on the highway. Safety-critical systems such as the electrical, steering and braking systems have been developed and successfully tested too, says the manufacturer.
A consortium of organizations, including MAN Truck & Bus, Bosch, and others, has been collaborating on the ATLAS-L4 project since January 2022 to enable autonomous HGVs to operate on specific routes with technical supervision, in accordance with German autonomous driving laws.
According to the latest consortium update, substantial progress has been achieved since the project’s inception; MAN Truck & Bus has unveiled a prototype vehicle equipped with an extensive array of sensors and sophisticated computer systems.
This vehicle is poised for data acquisition and has commenced preliminary highway test drives, marking a pivotal step toward autonomous transportation.
Notably, safety-critical systems, encompassing the electrical framework, steering mechanisms, and braking systems, have been meticulously engineered and successfully subjected to rigorous testing protocols.
A noteworthy addition to the project is the establishment of an advanced control centre for technical oversight. Operational since September 2023, this central hub facilitates real-time monitoring of the vehicle’s status, providing invaluable insights into its operational performance and safety parameters.
Concurrently, the project has conducted an exhaustive risk analysis, culminating in the formulation of critical cybersecurity measures to safeguard the system against potential cyber threats and ensure resilience against unforeseen operational disruptions.
The next significant milestone in the project involves the deployment of the test vehicle on public highways. These upcoming trials, expected to start before the year concludes, will include a safety driver on board, ensuring a secure testing environment and advancing the frontiers of autonomous transportation.
Focusing on the future, the primary goal of ATLAS-L4 is substantial, stresses the announcement. The initiative aims to illustrate the feasibility of Level 4 autonomous vehicles on highways, potentially ushering in a new era in logistics. This shift promises improved efficiency, safety, and a potential reduction in traffic congestion.
The project is slated to continue its innovative work until December 2024, with the ultimate aim of developing an industry-ready framework for the operation of autonomous trucks on highways.