Mobility Study 2016 - Advanced Driver assistance Systems

Advanced Driver assistance Systems are highly regarded.

© Continental

Logistics Sector Urgently Awaits Innovative Electric Mobility Solutions from Manufacturers

  • Continental Mobility Study confirms logistics industry's sharp focus on reducing consumption and protecting the environment
  • Widespread use of assistance systems – "take everything from passenger cars and offer it for trucks as well"
  • Fleet managers and drivers are satisfied with vehicle reliability

Hanover, September 2016. Spurred on by ever-stricter environmental specifications and considerable cost pressure, the logistics industry is urging manufacturers of commercial vehicles to offer innovative solutions in the field of electric mobility. In the Continental Mobility Study 2016, fleet managers refer in particular to the pressing demand in conurbations and for distribution haulage. At the same time, the sector appears largely satisfied with the commercial vehicles currently in use. This applies especially in respect of reliability (67%) and service and maintenance (64%). Comparatively speaking, Chinese logisticians record even higher satisfaction figures in all areas. In turn, German drivers give the vehicles much higher ratings than German logisticians (78% and 71% respectively).

Only in terms of the price/performance ratio are 64% of logistics experts somewhat dissatisfied. With regard to truck selling prices, manufacturers consider competition as "very tough." A quick amortization of investments is important for the business. 82 percent (Germany), 65 percent (China) of fleet operators expect an amortization of their investment within 1-2 years.

Fuel-saving technologies: At the top of logisticians' wishlist © Continental

Innovations to reduce consumption and CO2 emissions remain at the top of the logistics sector's wishlist. "CO2 emissions in the supply chain are important for companies; [...] the need to evaluate the supply chains is growing," explains a logistics specialist in the study. "Prompted by [the debate concerning] diesel passenger cars, the issue will become a problem for commercial vehicles as well. The Euro standards need to be complied with, having become increasingly stringent. There will be more and more regulations and entry permits for city-center delivery traffic, and that will be when the issue of electric mobility becomes relevant," confirms one commercial vehicle manufacturer.

"A truck that consumes no energy is probably the stuff of dreams. Yet electric mobility could play a role in distribution haulage in cities and conurbations, although this would necessitate lighter vehicles and lighter batteries," says an expert. "I have no electric mobility whatsoever. It exists only in the form of converted vehicles. Electric mobility would make a lot more sense in the truck segment than in passenger cars," comments one expert. In terms of electric drives, large-scale logistics suppliers have sometimes forged their own paths, as they do not believe that suitable solutions have yet been provided by commercial vehicle manufacturers. 

In this context, the drivers' assessments of fuel-saving behavior are striking. In local transport up to a radius of 150 kilometers, 28% of respondents report that their companies do not consider this important. At least 19% of drivers employed in national and international long-distance haulage say the same thing. Almost half of drivers of small delivery vans and trucks weighing up to 7.5 metric tons stress that fuel-saving behavior is not considered important.

Safety systems in vehicles are also in demand among logistics experts. "We make extensive use of driver assistance functions such as lane-keeping assistants and object detection. The objective should be for technology to provide the driver with the greatest possible support," confirms an expert from the industry. "Everything that is available in passenger cars and can be used in them should be available for trucks as well", requests another. Another adds: "From radar to automated brake functions. Everything that improves road safety." Not only that, but "It should not be possible for the driver to deactivate them."

Driver assistance systems are regarded as necessary and desirable by 66% of German experts. What is conspicuous here is the different opinion of Chinese logisticians, just 30% of whom consider driver assistance systems desirable. The reverse is true of software solutions for fleet management, with such software featuring on the wishlists of 25% of German logisticians, yet the figure rising to 49% in the case of the Chinese. At the same time, only approx. half of German companies use such software for vehicle management, especially in the case of small companies. Where vehicle management software is in use, the majority of respondents are satisfied with it.

Software applications,that directly involve drivers, enjoy significantly higher acceptance. Some 61% of logistics experts surveyed regard software for road performance as very important, the figures rising to 66% for software to be used by drivers and 85% for software to aid driver comfort and convenience. However, roughly a third of companies do not use such applications. "It is important to us to monitor a vehicle's consumption. We are concerned not with keeping an eye on the driver as a person but with tracking the driving situation," comments an expert in the study. "More intuitive solutions, graphics or signals that show how I could drive more effectively and simultaneously provide encouragement for the driver to do so as well," requests another.

With the "Mobility Study 2016 – The Connected Truck," the leading technology company Continental is presenting what is now its fourth mobility study. The market and social research institute (infas) surveyed logisticians, forwarding agents, fleet operators, and long-haul drivers in Germany and China. The focus was on the challenges faced by the logistics sector as a result of digitalization and connectivity.

Facts and figures regarding the vehicles of the future

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Enno Pigge

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