High Precision Navigation System for Trucks - Parking Assistance System for Long Truck-Trailer Combinations using Low-Cost GNSS Sensors

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Logistics companies limit the use of long truck-trailer combinations due to the considerable experience needed by the truck drivers to park these vehicles precisely and on time. The complex dynamics of trucks and trailers result in a tilt angle between them that is difficult to measure and control during their reverse parking and also during the loading and unloading of swap body containers on the trailers, tasks that are performed many times per day by truck drivers. The parking assistance information provided by the service, including steering wheel guidance information and predicted trajectory visualization, allows a wider and safer use of trailers attached to trucks, even by inexperienced drivers.

Users and their needs

The actors intended for the use of the system are:

  • Logistics and transportation companies (their benefit is the reduction of truck transportation costs by the wider use of long-truck trailer combinations and a decreased number of damages)..
  • Truck drivers (end users, their benefit is the enhanced safety and efficiency in the reverse parking process).
  • Truck manufacturers (their benefit is the installation of the system as a differentiation strategy).

The service is targeted initially for logistics companies and truck drivers in Germany, but is easily scalable for European use thanks to the availability of GNSS signals and satellite imagery.

The following key user needs have been identified for truck drivers of truck-trailer combinations in the reverse parking process:

  • Visual awareness of the rear area during the reverse parking process.
  • A future position projection of the truck given its current attitudes, tilt angles and distances.
  • An alternative visual aid in case of bad weather, poor illumination or non-direct line of sight with the target parking lot.
  • Selection of the desired parking position and steering wheel parking guidance information for this position.
  • A solution that is not complex to set up on containers due to tight time schedules.

Service/ system concept

For the parking assistance service operational phase, a subsidiary company is in charge of the advertisement, marketing and selling of the system, the provision of firmware updates and customized satellite/ aerial images and the relationship with customers, including the billing of the service in monthly fees for the software usage license.

Space Added Value

The added value of using satellite navigation instead of terrestrial based assets is the acquisition of globally available, free, weather independent and precise (with appropriate processing algorithms) real time positioning and attitude information. 

The added value of using satellite imagery is the possibility of maneuvering of the truck without a direct line of sight with its target parking lot. They also allow the visualization of the parking process in case of bad weather conditions such as rain or snow and poor illumination conditions.

Product Benefits

The project stimulates more frequent use of long truck-trailer combinations, increasing their safety by enhancing the information given to the driver, permitting a higher amount of freight tonnage per truck and per driver, reducing costs in personnel and fuel, as well as emissions and environmental impact. The service also permits inexperienced drivers to practice the process of reverse parking, improving their accuracy and timing.

Product Features

GNSS data is obtained by two low-cost receivers and an inertial sensor for the truck and each trailer. The data is processed into positioning, headings and tilt angle. Steering wheel guidance information and the future projection of truck and trailers position are computed and visualized in a smartphone. Additionally, rear view imaging is taken by a rear-mounted camera, satellite and aerial images are procured by free web mapping service apps or, in special cases, by cartography authorities such as LVG (Bavarian State Office for Survey and Geoinformation), and GNSS correction data for improved absolute positioning is gathered from EGNOS or through services such as SAPOS (service provided by German authority) or ASCOS.

Current Status

User scenarios, needs and user requirements have been established. The method for tilt determination based on ANavS’s PAD system (system integration of antennas, receivers, power and data storage and inertial sensor fusion with GNSS, providing accurate heading) has been validated. Three prototypes have been successfully tested in the Proof of Concept. A CCN is in preparation.

Project Managers

Contractor Project Manager

Dr. Patrick Henkel
Advanced Navigation Solutions – ANavS
Heßstraße 36
80798 Munich
Germany
+49 89 89056721

ESA Project Manager

Tony Sephton
ECSAT
Harwell Science & Innovation Campus
Didcot
OX11 0QX
United Kingdom

Status Date

17 July 2015 - Created: 23 October 2014