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Prime Mover Magazine

Daimler pushes autonomous agenda

In an unprecedented test, Daimler has taken another step forward in the development of fully connected and autonomous commercial vehicles, running automated snow removals on an airport runway.

On the site of the former Pferdsfeld airbase,

"We are not just talking about new technologies, we are bringing them onto the road," said Martin Daum, the Daimler AG Board of Management member responsible for Daimler Trucks.

"Step by step we are developing our very latest assistance systems even further – with a view to automated driving. We are currently working on the implementation of two specific use cases: Firstly automated driving in quite normal traffic on motorways – with the clear aim of relieving driver workload and significantly improving safety.

"And secondly driverless operation in enclosed areas to significantly improve productivity. With today's demonstration of automated snow clearance on an airfield, we are once more reinforcing our claim to technological leadership."

Under the project name "Automated Airfield Ground Maintenance“ (AAGM), four Mercedes-Benz Arocs tractor units demonstrate automated airfield clearing in a remote-controlled convoy.

The project was held on the former Pferdsfeld airbase in Germany and was established in close cooperation between Lab1886, the Daimler innovation incubator, Daimler Trucks and Fraport.

"The mission of Lab1886 is to develop new innovative business models for Daimler," said Susanne Hahn, Head of Lab1886. "The Fraport project is a great example in this regard. It shows how we bring together innovations with specific customer needs to develop new markets.“

"As one of the first airports worldwide, we are pleased to be contributing our know-how to this innovative project," said Mathias Dudek, head of Infrastructural Facility Management at Fraport.

"It enables us to examine autonomous control of heavy winter service equipment in the especially challenging winter conditions of an airport. We hope to obtain findings that will help us to plan the future deployment of equipment even more precisely and efficiently under sudden wintry conditions. Our commitment once again underlines the role of Fraport AG as an innovation driver in a wide range of areas."

The four Arocs test vehicles are equipped with the new Remote Truck Interface (RTI) for remotely controlling vehicle functions and exchanging data.

All vehicles are fully interlinked via the RTI via telematics, all operate automated and all are able to lead or follow in the vehicle convoy. A convoy leader is chosen at random from a fleet of available semi-trailer combinations and defines this as the "lead truck".The  vehicles are equipped with dual GPS tracking (DGPS) and state-of-the-art vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V communication) technology.

In addition, the interplay of the innovative RTI and the remote control unit provides extremely fast and secure date exchange among vehicles. To make this work in real time, a full data exchange between the vehicles and the main control unit of the RTI takes place every 0.1 seconds. 

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