Autonomous truck goes on the road with the support of GIGATRONIK

At the beginning of May the Freightliner Inspiration Truck, as first autonomously driving truck in the world, received approval for public roads. In the cockpit there are developments from GIGATRONIK in the form of special cable sets and HMI systems.

GIGATRONIK entwickelte die Algorithmik und Programmierung für das Fahrzeugdisplay und den Tablet-PC, der als HMI-System dient. (Bild: Daimler)
Ist der Highway Pilot aktiv, fährt der Truck autonom. Die Anzeige des Fahrzeugdisplays passt sich entsprechend an. (Bild: Daimler)
Das HMI-Tablet kann dann aus der Halterung in der Mittelkonsole genommen und für vielfältige Funktionen genutzt werden. (Bild: Daimler)
Beispielsweise kann der Fahrer einen Werkstatttermin seinem Fahrtplan hinzufügen. (Bild: GIGATRONIK)
Steuert der Fahrer den Lkw, erscheint die Benutzungsoberfläche des Tablet-PCs in Gelbtönen und signalisiert einen funktional angepassten Modus des HMI-Systems, der das Ablenkungspotential durch reduzierte Anzeigen gering hält. (Bild: GIGATRONIK)
GIGATRONIK stellte angepasste Leitungssätze für den Freightliner Inspiration Truck her und begleitete die Umbaumaßnahmen. (Bild: Daimler)

The autonomously driving truck is based on the US series model Freightliner Cascadia and is equipped with Highway Pilot technology. The system works with frontal radar and stereo cameras as well as proven assistance systems, like adaptive cruise control which, for example, is also used in the Mercedes-Benz Actros. In order to get authorisation for public roads in Nevada, the technology had to be developed further and the interplay between the components had to be extensively tested. For this reason the Freightliner Inspiration Truck completed a so-called “Marathon Run” of more than 16 000 km on one of the most modern test tracks in the world in Lower Saxony’s town of Papenburg in Germany.

Prior to this, the test truck was completely converted at the GIGATRONIK Integration Centre for Derivative Development and Electronic Mobility (German abbreviation: IDEE) on behalf of Daimler, and the electric wiring system and the cabling were modified to suit the extended requirements. All modified cable sets have, after successful testing, been produced for Freightliner in Portland and sent to the USA. GIGATRONIK documented all deviations compared with the serial model in detailed CAD drawings, including the new cable sets.

The Highway Pilot is a highly intelligent system that bundles state of the art radar sensors and camera technology. It can lead the truck through the motorway traffic completely autonomously. As far back as July 2014, Daimler Trucks presented the world’s first ever autonomous truck with the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025. GIGATRONIK provided support there too, and took over modifications in the cockpit as well as developments to the user interface for the driver display and the tablet PC. The HMI system is now used in graphically modified form in the Freightliner Inspiration Truck.

The Inspiration Truck is said by experts to be the next milestone on the way to making the Highway Pilot ready for series production. The complex set of cameras and radar systems with lane departure and collision prevention functions controls the speed, braking and steering. Through an intelligent and reliable combination of individual systems, an autonomous vehicle has been created and safe operation under various conditions can be presented. The truck maintains the authorised maximum speed, controls the prescribed distance to the vehicle in front or uses the stop-and-go function in peak traffic times. Everything with the aim of offering drivers as well as forwarding companies the many advantages presented by extensive automation.

GIGATRONIK’s project participation has been successfully realised, like previously in the Project Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025, in cooperation between the specialist areas of vehicle integration, system architecture and wiring systems as well as software development.

Autonomous driving is a central field of development for GIGATRONIK, even beyond these two projects. Together with its customers, GIGATRONIK is actively shaping the development of autonomous driving, in the fields of both commercial as well as passenger cars.

Florian Rubländer
Corporate Communications