Source: ATLAS-L4 project announcement
MUNICH — MAN Truck & Bus, Knorr-Bremse, Leoni and Bosch are joining forces for greater safety, flexibility and efficiency in logistics. Together with automated logistics provider Fernride and test tool manufacturer BTC Embedded Systems, they aim to have autonomous (AV) trucks on the highway for the first time by the middle of this decade as part of the ATLAS-L4 project.
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Technical University of Braunschweig are providing scientific support for the project, while TÜV SÜD and Autobahn GmbH are contributing their expertise with regard to practical feasibility and the approval process.
The ATLAS-L4 (Automated Transport between Logistics centers on highways, Level 4) research and development project combines expertise from industry, scientific research and infrastructure operators in hitherto unique ways to create an integrated approach to the operation of autonomous vehicles on public motorways and highways.
ATLAS-L4 intends to demonstrate that the use of Level-4 automated and thus driverless vehicles on the highway is feasible, laying the foundation for innovative transport and logistics concepts.
The project makes direct use of the new opportunities opened up by the legislation on autonomous driving passed in 2021, in which Germany is set to hold a worldwide pioneering position. In this way, ATLAS-L4 contributes both to the future-proof design of road freight transport and to strengthening Germany as a business location.
The overarching aim of the project, funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action is to use autonomous driving between logistics hubs on the motorway to make an effective contribution towards the avoidance of congestion and accidents, to operate vehicles with greater fuel efficiency and to counteract the shortfall of drivers by eliminating the less attractive driving tasks.
Trucks are essential for the transport of goods all around the world, but the sector is under pressure: In Germany alone, traffic jams cause billions of euros in economic damage every year, around 90 percent of road accidents are the result of human error, and a lack of drivers is halting growth for many companies. The BGL (German Freight and Logistics Association) reports that there is a shortage of around 60,000 professional freight drivers in Germany today. Although around 17,000 new drivers join the profession each year, around 30,000 professional drivers retire, with the result that the problem will worsen significantly.
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