Connected Trucks Freight transport of the future by using the internet

Around 400,000 Daimler trucks around the world are already connected via the FleetBoard and Detroit Connect systems – more than any other manufacturer can offer.

Daimler Trucks is driving the systematic connectivity of its vehicles ahead with all parties involved in the logistical and transport process. The completely connected truck initiates a radical change in transport which will make road goods traffic even more efficient – not only for drivers, haulers and vehicle manufacturers, but also for society as a whole.

Daimler Trucks is systematically implementing this goal: since 2013 connectivity has been an established part of the strategy. To this end the company is investing around half a billion euros in the connection of its trucks, and in the creation of associated new services and digital solutions, in the next five years alone. Starting after the 2016 International Commercial Vehicle Show, Daimler Trucks will continuously add new service packages to its already extensive telematics services. The company has also set up the structural framework for the digital transformation of the truck business, and established corresponding structures in all business units.

400 sensors in today’s Daimler truck register data of all kinds

The worldwide transport of goods is a prerequisite for economic growth. However, transporting more goods in the future requires innovative solutions if we are to avoid a traffic gridlock. One central approach is to connect the truck with the Internet of Things. Daimler's smart trucks have the potential to radically change road goods transport in the coming years. Already today, a truck generates valuable information to a previously unimaginable extent with its approximately 400 sensors and is fully connected with software including 130 millions lines of code - more than a passenger jet.

400,000 Daimler vehicles already connected

The large volume of data which a truck can send and receive creates completely new possibilities for the entire logistics sector and for society as a whole. Previously the different areas of the logistical network have been only inadequately connected. The information required for smooth-running procedures is often lacking, or it is not part of a network. In Europe, for example, around 25 percent of all truck mileage is still on empty journeys. With new freight clearing houses based on data from connected trucks, logistics businesses will in future be able to utilize their vehicle capacity much better, and thereby reduce empty journeys. Another example: In 2015 German road users alone suffered around 568,000 traffic jams with a total length of around 1.1 million kilometers – and the resulting increase in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. With the availability and exchange of traffic data in real time, trucks with intelligent sensors will in future be able to prevent rear-end collisions and circumvent traffic jams. At the same time the downtimes of trucks can be reduced if the truck itself reports a fault at an early stage, and the hauler can schedule a service during the already planned downtime between two transport assignments.

Autonomous truck platooning lowers fuel consumption and CO2

The Highway Pilot Connect system allows electronic docking by vehicles on motorways and long-distance highways, also known as “platooning”. Connected vehicles in a platoon require a distance of only 15 instead of 50 metres between them. This considerably smaller distance produces a significant reduction in aerodynamic drag – comparable to slipstream riding in cycling competitions. In this way a platoon of three trucks can achieve a fuel saving of around seven percent, reducing CO2 emissions in the same measure. This makes fuel consumption figures of around 25 l/100 km possible for a loaded semi-trailer truck with a gross weight of 40 t. This corresponds to a consumption of only 0.66 l/100 km per ton, or CO2 emissions of 13.3 g per kilometer per ton. That’s well below the figures for any passenger car with combustion engine.

In parallel with this, platooning allows much more efficient use of road space: thanks to the shorter distance between vehicles, a platoon of three linked trucks has a length of only 80 meters. In contrast to this, three trucks which are not electronically docked require a total of 150 meters of road space. At the same time platooning makes road traffic much safer: while a human behind the wheel has a reaction time of 1.4 seconds, Highway Pilot Connect transmits braking signals to the vehicles behind in less than 0.1 seconds. This considerably reduced reaction time can make a major contribution towards reducing rear-end collisions that for example occur at the end of traffic jams on motorways.

"The smart, self-optimizing truck has the highest priority for us. By using connected communication between the truck and other vehicles and the surroundings, we can improve traffic flow and lower fuel consumption and emissions. At the same time intelligent trucks help to lower the number of traffic accidents. This is an important step on our way towards accident-free driving," says Sven Ennerst, Head of Truck Product Engineering & Global Procurement.

Mercedes-Benz Uptime: Connectivity increases vehicle availability

Mercedes-Benz Uptime applies intelligent connectivity to bring the Mercedes-Benz Actros, Arocs and Antos close to the ideal of a truck that is always available. With this new service product – starting in late 2016 - Mercedes-Benz is opening up a new chapter in truck reliability and maintenance.

Mercedes-Benz Uptime continuously monitors the vehicle systems via the new FleetBoard Truck Data Center. This covers all the truck's systems that are equipped with sensors, the fill level of service fluids, and all technology for which there is information available in the CAN data bus system. When repair or maintenance work is needed, the truck sends this information automatically via the FleetBoard telematics system to a server at Mercedes-Benz Service. The server analyses the data based on stored algorithms, creates a fault diagnosis in real time and then passes it to the service organization together with specific recommended courses of action. The service organization contacts the customer, passes on the recommendations and, if required, finds a workshop and takes care of the organizational matters. The entire process is fully automated.

Mercedes-Benz Uptime comprises three services: avoidance of breakdowns, efficient management of repairs and maintenance and real-time support for repair measures by customers.

Safely connected What applies to our assistance systems also applies to connectivity: For Daimler, the safety of customers' and vehicle data comes first.

More Information

Future Mobility: connected

Daimler at the IAA 2016

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