In a groundbreaking initiative, Ford Trucks’ new F-Max tractors with Ford Otosan and AVL platooning technology have successfully completed initial test drives in Turkey. As the first phase of the joint R&D project is completed, the progress in the heavy commercial vehicle sector forms a platform for autonomous transportation to be made into a reality, not only in Turkey, but worldwide.
Initiated last year, the joint initiative between Ford Otosan, AVL Turkey and AVL Regensburg in Germany aims to redefine trucking. Ford Otosan assistant general manager Burak Gökçelik and AVL’s executive vice president of global business development and international operations, truck and bus, Rolf Dreisbach, joined the launch event of the platooning trial at the Ford Otosan Eskişehir Plant and stressed the collaboration’s vital role in developing and testing autonomous truck technology in Turkey.
“This is an important milestone on the road to autonomous driving in heavy commercial transportation. This R&D project will enable us to advance smart mobility, reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption, and improve road safety. In the next phases of the project and long term we aim to develop SAE Level 4 autonomous driving features and realize hub-to-hub autonomous highway transportation. We are pleased to be one of the few truck manufacturers in the world investing and working on autonomous truck technologies with a prototype product,” commented Gökçelik.
Dreisbach, added, “There are several benefits of platooning, such as the reduction of total cost of ownership and increased fuel savings. Very important to point out is also the increase in safety, which can be realized on all levels of autonomous driving. In this joint development project, we aim to increase autonomous driving levels of vehicles and, ultimately, reach a level where no human driver is needed behind the steering wheel. This means we can solve the driver shortage and make transports more cost efficient and safer. AVL’s knowledge of more than 70 years in powertrain development and global automotive engineering power has been used very effectively in this project.”