Bavaria launched the world’s first computer-controlled truck project. They will run on the Autobahn between Munich and Nuremberg. In Germany, on the A9 Autobahn between Munich and Nuremberg, they will make unmanned trucks three times a day, transporting goods from Schenker logistics company, the subsidiaries of the German railway concern Deutsche Bahn. The start of the new project was given on Monday, June 25, German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer, head of the automobile concern MAN Joachim Drees and leaders of Deutsche Bahn Alexander Doll and Sabina Jeschke.
The project will be the first experience in the world of using freight convoys with just one driver in practice. At a distance of 15 meters from the driver’s first truck with a trailer, the second one followed by the computer will follow. The minimum distance between regular trucks on German highways is 50 meters.
Safer and more cost-effective transport
According to the Minister, German Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer, this method will make freight transportation less dangerous, increase their profitability and reduce environmental damage. The movement in the air stream created by the truck in front reduces fuel consumption by 10 percent, that is, it saves about three liters of diesel fuel for every 100 kilometers, Alexander Doll said in turn.
In addition, such columns require less space on crowded roads. Automated convoys of two trucks with trailers will occupy only 40 meters instead of 90 meters, said Doll. Road safety is also improving as the computer responds in thousandths of a second to a changing situation, he added.
At the same time, a driver who will be able to take control at any time will be seated as a precautionary measure for automatically driven trucks. The project is designed until the end of 2019.
Why are young Germans in no hurry to buy their own car
While a new generation of Germans is increasingly less likely to need their own car, the leading German auto companies are putting on car sharing. Among them are Daimler, Volkswagen and BMW. In Germany, for young residents of large cities, owning your own car is no longer a priority. According to a study by the Bergisch Gladbach Higher School of Economics, less and less Germans between the ages of 18 and 25 experience an emotional need for a personal car.
As the author of the study, Professor Stefan Bratzel, explains, this opens up new prospects for the development of public transport and alternative options for moving around the city. One of them is car sharing or car sharing. At the same time, this does not apply to residents of rural areas: according to the expert, young people living outside the metropolitan area will not be able to imagine their life without their own cars for a long time.
Leipzig and Hamburg – new car sharing centers
Meanwhile, many cities in Germany are trying to integrate new solutions into the existing transport system. For example, 28 car and bike rental points appeared in Leipzig: all of them are located in close proximity to central public transport stops, which makes it easy to transfer, for example, from a bus to a bicycle. In this case, the order and payment of rented vehicles is carried out using a plastic card with a built-in chip.
In turn, MOIA, a Volkswagen subsidiary, relies on Hamburg: here it will be possible to rent unmanned VW electric buses using a mobile application on a smartphone. Landing in them is carried out at virtual stops located within 250 meters from the passenger’s location at the time of booking. The project is currently in the testing phase: it is expected to be officially launched in 2019.
Deutsche Bahn also rents cars
IOKI, the daughter of the German railway concern Deutsche Bahn, also plans to rent unmanned vehicles. Meanwhile, testing of such projects is carried out not only in megacities: for example, in the town of Bad Birnbach in Bavaria in the fall of 2017, an unmanned electric minibus was put into operation, which already delivered more than 10,000 passengers to their destinations.
Munich was not left behind from the new trends. In mid-June, the city transport company is preparing to launch a new MVH Isar-Tiger car-sharing service there: using a mobile application, users will be able to rent a VW Caddy gas-powered car.
The main problem in German cities is the growing volume of freight
However, further integration of car sharing into the city public transport system is possible only if the politicians support this initiative on a large scale. As auto expert Stefan Bratzel notes, this issue must be resolved at the level of the authorities: only in this way it will be possible to reduce the number of private vehicles on city streets.
Be that as it may, an appropriate decision should be made in the near future. According to Bratzel, more and more customers are ordering goods in the Amazon online store, which contributes to the growth of cargo transportation in the city. “One day this will lead to a complete stop of traffic. This can only be prevented by long-term, future-oriented measures, ”the expert is sure.
Daimler and BMW combine car sharing services
Large German automakers have been actively investing in the development and implementation of new transport solutions for many years. In March 2018, Daimler and BMW, previously competing with each other in this field, agreed to combine their Car2Go and DriveNow car sharing services.
Thus, the total number of their customers will reach 40 million people – this will allow companies to compete on equal terms with the Uber American taxi ordering service, which received an ambiguous assessment in Europe. According to the agreement, Daimler and BMW will receive 50 percent of the shares of the new enterprise. The antimonopoly service is expected to give the deal a green light back in 2018.