Prototype autonomous trucks from MAN have been put through their paces in a project with a Hamburg-based operator. 

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) has trialed the technology at a container terminal in the German city.

In addition, freight forwarding company Jakob Weets e.K has also been involved in the vehicle development.

Preparation and the test work has been going on since 2018 between MAN and HHLA.

Therefore, the practical test drives saw trucks running equipped with fully developed automation systems.

Jakob Weets e.K provided drivers and also integrated the trucks into its transport operations

As a result, the company’s MD, Jakob Weets, was delighted with the end result.

“We are pleased to be part of the innovative research project and to support the development of future automation solutions.” 

The trials saw prototype autonomous trucks transport a 40ft container 70km via conventional driving.

After reaching the checkpoint at the destination, the driver moved to the passenger seat and the technology took over.

However, the driver was still able to intervene should anything go wrong with the vehicle.

The truck then drove autonomously across the terminal site to its correct position and reversed into the correct parking position. 

After container handling, the return trip to the check gate was also made autonomously.

Meanwhile, MAN’s Sebastian Völl hailed the work of the prototype autonomous trucks.

“Hamburg TruckPilot is an important technological milestone on the road to hub-to-hub automation,” he stated.

In adition, Völl highlighted the importance of getting autonomous driving data ahead of further driving tasks.

These projects are set to take place on outside closed areas, where driving has previously been restricted.

However, at the end of May a law was passed on autonomous driving, allowing the use of prototype autonomous trucks in Germany on public roads.