PowerTorque sat down for a chat with Stefan Pahl, Director Application Engineering and Technical Sales at Knorr Bremse, to talk about future developments and look into the technology crystal ball for the trucking industry.
The highly sophisticated technology we fit on our trucks and trailers today has come a long way in the last twenty years, but with the need for ever more efficient and safe road transport, there is much further to go, when it comes to the level of sophistication needed in the decades to come.
“I think we haven’t seen everything yet,” says Stefan. “So the development is specifically for highly automated driving, there will be a lot to come in the future. It will be a lot more precise and, and what we then also need is a certain level of redundancy of certain mission critical systems.
“If someone is willing to invest more money into their vehicle combination they would only do that if the outcome is more reliability. That’s the expectation that everyone has, and therefore, we’ve started to work on exactly those kinds of systems. We’ve started to prepare ourselves to work out concepts for redundant braking, but also redundant air suspension control.
“We’re also convinced that on certain other systems, since they are also mission critical, we will have to implement a certain redundancy in them. Like lighting, a single failure of one light will not be an acceptable reason to stop the combination on the highway. It’s the same for the trailer. You cannot stop a trailer when a single wheel speed sensor error might stop the whole combination. That’s just unacceptable.
“We’ve also worked on solutions for redundant ABS, redundant stability control, we have concepts for that. We’ve already also tested those in test vehicles in Sweden, on our test track, and on a new test track in Hungary.”
The ZalaZONE project, the largest test track in Central Europe, is located in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary and was financed by the European Union and the Hungarian state. The facility has built a virtual city so that highly automated driving can be tested in a realistic environment, interacting with other vehicles and buildings.
There are a lot of issues and technical challenges which still need to be clarified before these will begin to appear on our roads. The legislative background to create the environment for these systems to be allowed is still not clear and will have to be harmonised across different countries and continents.