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TRATON GROUP plans R&D expenditures of more than €1 billion within the next five years

The aim: Significantly more than a million networked trucks on the road by 2025

The TRATON GROUP is making strides with networked vehicles, logistics, and autonomous driving. Towards this effort, the MAN, Scania, and Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus (VWCO) brands are developing common platforms to be more agile and to reduce costs. TRATON’s research and development (R&D) is therefore focused on digitalization: By the end of 2024, more than €1 billion in R&D expenditure is to flow into this area. At the TRATON Innovation Day, Andreas Renschler, TRATON CEO and member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, said: “We want to move into the digital fast lane and are continuing to evolve from a hardware supplier to a provider of software and services.” This is also evident from the almost 2,000 software engineers that already work for the brands today – making up nearly 30% of all engineers employed at TRATON GROUP.

Common platform for autonomous driving

The Group is already working on a common platform for autonomous driving and has a number of vehicles being tested or in real use. TRATON will also be examining possibilities to fully leverage the vast knowledge within the VW Group and its partners. Christian Levin, TRATON board member responsible for R&D and Chief Operating Officer said: “Autonomous driving is not coming. It’s already here! We have already delivered the first vehicles and many tests are underway.”

A real application of the new autonomous Scania concept vehicle “AXL” without a driver’s cab was showcased to a global audience at the Innovation Day. Since 2018, an autonomous Scania truck has been utilized in a Rio Tinto mine in Australia. Later in 2019, Scania plans to put a bus in operation which will electrically and autonomously transport passengers for Nobina in the Stockholm metropolitan area. And in a few months, MAN kicks off large-scale practical testing together with the port of Hamburg where trucks will drive on the highway in some sections highly automated to the port. On arrival, the driver gets out of the vehicle, and the truck continues to drive autonomously to the Altenwerder container terminal; it is then autonomously unloaded and drives back to the driver on its own. MAN is currently simulating the port environment and testing the vehicle at its plant site in Munich.

The aim: Significantly more than a million networked trucks in 2025

The number of networked vehicles of TRATON GROUP’s customers is now also growing rapidly. While at the end of 2018, there were around 450,000 vehicles networked the number increased to some 600.000 in 2019. By the end of 2025, that number is expected to be more than a million vehicles. Since the beginning of 2019, nearly every new medium and heavy-duty truck delivered by Scania and MAN is connected in one way or another. VWCO will also equip its vehicles from October on with the relevant Group connectivity solution as a standard. Digitalization and connected vehicles bolster the TRATON brands’ service business, leading to new offerings and business models as well as continuous improvement ideas for the vehicles. Customers can reduce costs as well as more efficiently manage and better utilize their vehicles and fleets. The many customer benefits include improved uptime, reduced maintenance costs, lower fuel consumption, and better route planning – this also benefits the environment. The brands develop the tailored solutions in close cooperation with customers.

According to consultancy company Deloitte, the telematics market alone will expand from €2.3 billion in 2016 to nearly €10 billion in 2026. Currently, trucks in Europe — depending on the estimate — only operate on average at around 50% to 60% capacity utilization. Intelligent digital solutions could help to considerably reduce the number of empty runs or vehicles that are underutilized — and thus also CO2 emissions. “Digitalization can significantly contribute to climate protection,” says Renschler.

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