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Development and Examination of the application

of electronically coupled truck convoys on highways

General information
From 2005-09 to 2009-11 Completed
Project Coordinator
VRA, the network of automation

The German national project KONVOI focused from 2005 to 2009 on the topic platoons of heavy trucks, in which vehicles follow a lead truck fully automatically with small gaps to improve aerodynamics. At the same time the small gaps and a digital transmission of driving parameter via V2V communication enable a reduction of needed road area and an improvement of traffic flow.

The project KONVOI studied the impact (driver acceptance, traffic flow and environment) as well as the legal and economic implication of platoons.


The KONVOI-Project aims at realizing and analyzing the use of electronically regulated truck convoys on the road. Among other things the effects on traffic should be examined with the help of virtual test drives in the RWTH truck driving simulator and real test drives with the use of five experimental vehicles. Some effects have already been elaborated theoretically in the previous projects EFAS (Einsatzszenarien für FAS im Güterverkehr) and MFG (Vorbereitende Maßnahmen für den praktischen Einsatz von Fahrerassistenzsystemen im Güterverkehr) as well as in the European research projects PROMOTE CHAUFFEUR I/II. To implement truck convoys on the road the product specification that has been defined within the scope of MFG has to be taken into consideration. The legal aspects of this realization are based on the results of the projects EFAS, MFG and Response and they will be further developed concerning the commercial use of truck convoys in Germany.


Within the KONVOI project five experimental vehicles will be provided with the necessary information, vehicle and automation technology to allow the build up of short as well as long truck convoys on highways under real traffic conditions. Hence, the experimental vehicles within this project will be provided among others with actuators for intervention in steering, drive train, brake, environmental sensors for object detection in near and far range as well as equipment for the inter-vehicle-communication (IVC) and a man-machine-interfaces (MMI) for the system’s handling.

Further on, a common controller (longitudinal and lateral control) for the automated convoy will be developed and available to all project partners for the following use. The project’s aim is not only the testing of the experimental vehicle on the test track but also the evaluation of the new traffic system “truck convoy” on highways with surrounding traffic and the commercial use of such systems in forwarding agencies under realistic conditions. For this purpose the requirement for the implementation on the basis of the performance specification of the project MFG will be drawn up in the first place. To manage the high complexity of the tasks and to guarantee the system’s reliability, the development will be carried out with the help of well known simulation tools (MATLAB® / SIMULINK®, PELOPS and truck driving simulator). This allows the development process to be accelerated parallel to the construction of the experimental vehicles. Even before the experimental vehicle test, a high state of maturity results for software algorithms (e.g. for longitudinal and lateral control).

A platoon of four heavy trucks of the brands MAN and IVECO, which drove with gaps of 10 m, were developed and successfully tested in real traffic in 2009. Overall the platoon was operated for 3100 km in real traffic. Thereby the KONVOI system was the first platoon system worldwide, which was tested in real traffic. The trucks were equipped with a V2V and V2I communication system, a mono camera as well as lidar and radar sensors. On the basis of the real traffic drives it could be shown, that a safe operation of platoons is possible.

Related Projects



Besides the industrial partners the KONVOI consortium consists of institutes of the RWTH Aachen University and logistics companies and it is supported by public authorities and vocational schools: ika, IfP, IRT, isac, BUR, ZLW/IMA, MAN, WABCO, BASt. This project was promoted by the “Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung”.

Budget / Funding