German automotive manufacturer, Continental
and Knorr-Bremse, a German manufacturer of braking systems for
rail and commercial vehicles, have jointly developed
an automated commercial vehicle driving in a column—the Platooning
Demonstrator. It is based on a platoon of three trucks of different makes.
Initial test runs and demonstrations to customers have already been conducted
at testing grounds.
With this cooperation, both the companies
have exhibited possibilities with the technology like formation of platoons,
driving together, the emergency braking function, exiting by individual
vehicles and safe splitting up of the entire platoon.
During the development, special attention was
kept on the process for transferring control from the driver to the vehicle. A
key element of this technology is that of the clear instructions over what
needs to be done, so that the driver receives it via specially designed human/ machine
interface. It displays the information graphically and clearly. This enables
the driver to track the status of the system transparently at all times. The
transfer itself is initiated on request by the push of a button, as soon as the
partner vehicle is less than 50 meters away. The synchronous vehicle-to-vehicle
(V2V) emergency braking function ensures greater traffic safety by initiating
simultaneous braking of all the vehicles, without any delay in reaction times. The
vehicles come to a stop at the same distance apart during driving.
Gilles Mabire, Head-CV & Aftermarket
Business Unit, Continental, says, “With the Platooning Demonstrator, we’ve
reached the first milestone of our joint work. The focus now is on exchanging
ideas with the vehicle manufacturers for further development of the system
solution in line with the product strategies of the customers.”
“Automated driving is an evolutionary
development. This is changing the conditions for automated driving and the
speed at which automated driving functions are introduced. Flexibility and
openness when it comes to customer requirements and implementation routes is
the key to our success. That’s why we’re keen to have close communication with
our customers. It means, we can present our roadmaps for products and
functions, create vehicle demonstrators and react quickly to align our work
with customer needs and market requirements,” adds Dr Peter Laier, Board Member
& CV Division, Knorr-Bremse AG.
Continental is responsible for the sensors,
including cameras and radar and lidar sensors. Together with V2V communication,
the environment sensors are a significant block for maintaining safe but short distance
between vehicles during platooning. This short distance apart makes fuel-saving
In order to process sensor signals, including
those with data from V2V or based on the traffic infrastructure (V2X), a
development environment is initially being used for the Demonstrator. To do so,
the company has used data to create a model of the respective environment too,
enabling self-orientation of the truck. In future, the system will use the
central Assisted & Automated Driving Control Unit (ADCU) from Continental
and Global Scalable Brake Control (GSBC) from Knorr-Bremse to supply the input
for the driving strategy.
For planning the trajectory, Knorr-Bremse will
work on specific requirements on commercial vehicle dynamics. It will also
implement the requirements for driving stability (motion control) and at the
actuator level—converting the driver’s decision into specific control processes
inside the vehicle, and on actuating steering and braking for longitudinal and
Both companies aim to enable highly
automated driving by single trucks on highways. A first demonstrator is planned
for next year. Starting in 2020, the partners will be ready to develop this
technology jointly with the manufacturers.