Long gone are the days when commercial vehicles had a rather dusty image despite their good functionality. Rough edges and corners and bulky designs become more and more a thing of the past. And also the poor amenities are being replaced by more and more high-tech features. One can say, that they really arrived in the 21st century, which became obvious during the recent “IAA für Nutzfahrzeuge” in Hannover.
About 2000 exhibitors from over 50 different countries this year showcased their developments to the visitors of the leading fair in the automotive industry with special focus on commercial vehicles. At the Hannover exhibition area, as big as almost 40 football pitches, innovations were shown, including 320 worldwide novelties. As an expert in the automotive segment, it was a mandatory event for us. Here’s a little summary of our walk-around-tour through the exhibition halls of Hannover Messe.
What we have seen at IAA für Nutzfahrzeuge 2016 was really overwhelming. A true fascination for everybody who is into cars and automotive technology. Besides the standard renewed or facelifted exhibits, we discovered some clear technology trends, too. The era of the Internet of Things does not stop when it comes to commercial vehicles. Especially when we talk about the concept of smart cities, trucks and busses will play an essential role, especially when we speak about environmental protection. So the first clear trend we observed in Hannover was the emerging shift towards electro-mobility.
Mercedes-Benz revealed their world premiere of the new Urban eTruck, which runs fully battery electrical. This zero-emission vehicle come up with a total capacity of 212KWh resulting from a modular battery concept and is supposed to run up to 200 kilometre, which corresponds to a typical day trip. The charging time for a 100% charge amounts to less than 3 hours, according to Mercedes.
In order to realize such numbers, lightweight construction and design is required. Manufacturers like Magna International Inc. are working on delivering innovative solutions for transport technology. With their lightweight Truck Frame V4.0 they fulfil the needs of the industry regarding weight reduction, fuel efficiency and low exhaust emissions. The chassis are ultra-light weight as they use finite elements approach to design the frames.
The halls where the busses were exhibited had plenty to offer too. There have been some nice new systems, like the Mercedes Future Bus, a vehicle with electric and autonomous features, plus an interior club and launch area (see cover image). Another eye-catcher was the Volvo 7900 Electric. The cool thing about it is, that it drives not only fully electrical, silent and clean with no climate emission, but it also includes a charging opportunity on top of the bus. The idea of Volvo is that charging happens at the busses’ end stops, which means it’ll have a minimum impact on the timetable. The fully automatic charging procedure will be realized by pylons which include all the moving parts. This concept would also fit perfectly into Smart City projects.
Besides all those electric vehicles we identified other trends during the tradeshow in Hannover. One worth mentioning is connected diagnostics. What does that mean? Information about the state of on engine will be transmitted by a telematics system. In case a failure is diagnosed, recommendations regarding continued vehicle operation or the need for immediate service, are sent instantly. This can increase safety on the one hand, and on the other hand eliminate operation downtimes, because equipment availability can be optimized and a time-consuming fault investigation is not necessary anymore.
Last but not least, we found another trend we wrote about already in one of our earlier articles. Mirror replacement seems to be lifting off! Launched in 2015 during the Geneva Autoshow, the international standard ISO16505 describes technical requirements, a digital mirror or a camera monitor system (CMS) needs to fulfil. Requirements consider safety aspects, ergonomics, and also performance facets. The principle itself actually works pretty easy. A camera is capturing a certain field of view and at the same time forwards the information to an electronic control unit (ECU). Here the signal will be processed and in the next step visualized on a display that is mounted inside of the car. Besides the above mentioned safety aspect, this mirror replacement decisively contributes to a reduced CO2 emission due to a reduced air resistance for the vehicle. This new development will also be interesting for car designers as there will be new design opportunities for the connected car of the future.
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(Featured Image: VDA)