Volkswagen Truck & Bus Innovation Day points to transportation futures

Volkswagen Truck & Bus (VWTB) can draw on a wealth of resources for its future technologies, digital solutions, and innovative services. Although Volkswagen Truck & Bus was only formed in 2015, it can share the benefits from well over 200 years of experience and market presence with just two of its brands, MAN and Scania. The Group has made excellent progress in the following core fields of future technologies: Autonomous driving, connectivity, and sustainable powertrain solutions.

As explained at a specially arranged press conference at the Port of Hamburg, Germany, collaborative projects are abound between brands within the Group which includes the South American arm of the MAN owned Volkswagen Truck & Bus manufacturing company. We heard about ‘Lead engineering’ which means that one of the brands - with mixed teams of engineers - assumes responsibility for joint development projects in areas best suited to their expertise. This creates synergies, which in turn reduces costs, and strengthens the shared know-how of the brands.

Another new approach adopted by Volkswagen Truck & Bus is its platform strategy. Shared technical platforms are in place, forming the basis for product development and ultimately each individual product family, including each digital service and the entire product portfolio of the overall Volkswagen Truck & Bus Group and its individual brands.

Many innovations in the three core future technology fields of automated to autonomous driving, digitization and connectivity, and sustainable powertrain concepts are now already being tested in pilot trials together with the customer, or are almost at the stage of series production.

In the field of autonomous driving, for example, Volkswagen Truck & Bus is already very well prepared: The Group can deliver what customers are looking for within the current regulatory framework without any ifs, ands, or buts. Fully autonomous vehicles from Scania for use in mines are already here. For example, Scania is currently working full steam ahead on a very special platooning solution for Singapore, which can be regarded as the world’s first fully viable and regular truck platoon service running on public roads.

MAN Truck & Bus too in cooperation with seven partners from industry, research, and administration has impressively demonstrated with the BMWI-subsidized research project “aFAS” how far the technology of automated driving has evolved. For the first time in Germany, a driverless MAN truck is driving autonomously as a safety vehicle for mobile road maintenance works.

The next step will involve the integration of truck convoy operations across all brands, in other words putting together platoons made up of different brands of vehicles. Under the roof of Volkswagen Truck & Bus, Scania and MAN will be at the forefront of the technology, and will jointly develop standards that can guide the entire sector.

Volkswagen Truck & Bus is also working closely together with Volkswagen Group Research to generally broaden the scope of autonomous transportation and even make it a viable option beyond the realm of public roads. For example, “Fellow Truck” is the name of one of the projects aiming to achieve a maximum level of technical intelligence and create a basis for successively integrating intelligent modules into vehicles across all brands.

Digitization and connectivity in the area of transportation are closely linked to autonomous driving. Volkswagen Truck & Bus heads the European field in the connectivity of trucks. This position will be further strengthened by the expansion of the shared cloud-based platform being jointly developed by MAN, Scania, and RIO. And North American cooperation partner Navistar will also shortly be joining this platform.

The top priority for Volkswagen Truck & Bus and its brands is to expand their own digital universe. As a pioneer in digitization, Scania has already connected over 280,000 vehicles. It is therefore now possible to collect data to a high level of detail, and make it available in real time to the customer. With its new digital marketplace Scania One, Scania is providing quick and easy access to its connected services.

And RIO, the new digital brand in the Group, is setting even higher goals. RIO is designed as a cloud-based digital fleet service and is explicitly aimed at multi-brand fleets, offering connected services for transportation and logistics.

Volkswagen Truck & Bus also aims to reach the top spot in alternative drivetrains and zero emission technology. It will provide the best solution for sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and where possible climate-neutral CO2-emission-free transportation, wherever demanded by customers and required or encouraged by the political landscape.

Purely electrically powered buses will be in series production by 2020. Soon, Volkswagen Truck & Bus will be able to offer the European market a complete range of e-vehicles with the eCrafter for “last mile” delivery services and light to medium-duty distribution trucks.

Brand new arrival: e-Delivery from Brazil

With the fast-growing emerging economies in mind, another electrically driven distribution truck has been developed which has its world premiere under the model designation Volkswagen e-Delivery at the Innovation Day. The e-Delivery is a light and modern truck for urban logistics with zero emission and extremely low noise level to improve sustainability in urban delivery of goods. It will be built at Volkswagen Caminhões e Onibus in Brazil in 2020.

As Antonio Roberto Cortes, CEO of MAN Latin America said: “The e-Delivery represents a milestone in the history of Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus. It is a totally new platform, developed in Brazil, in search of alternatives for mobility in the big cities.”