ATLAS-L4: Funding project for autonomous trucks

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MAN Truck & Bus, Knorr-Bremse, Leoni and Bosch are joining forces for greater safety, flexibility and efficiency in logistics. Together with automated logistics provider Fernride and test tool manufacturer BTC Embedded Systems, they aim to have autonomously driving trucks on the highway for the first time by the middle of this decade in the ATLAS-L4 project. The Fraunhofer Institute AISEC, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Technische Universität Braunschweig are providing scientific support for the project, while TÜV SÜD and Autobahn GmbH are contributing their expertise with regard to practical feasibility and the approval process.

The Project 

The ATLAS-L4 (Automated Transport between Logistics centres on highways,Level 4) research and development project combines expertise from industry, scientific research and infrastructure operators in hitherto unique ways to create an integrated approach to the operation of autonomous vehicles on public motorways and highways. ATLAS-L4 intends to demonstrate that the use of Level-4-automated and thus driverless vehicles on the highway is feasible, laying the foundation for innovative transport and logistics concepts. The project makes direct use of the new opportunities opened up by the legislation on autonomous driving passed in 2021, in which Germany is set to hold a worldwide pioneering position. In this way, ATLAS-L4 contributes both to the future-proof design of road freight transport and to strengthening Germany as a business location.

For MAN, ATLAS-L4 is an important step on the path towards hub-to-hub automation, with which we are already looking towards future series  applications for Logistics 4.0. 

Dr. Frederik Zohm
MAN Truck & Bus executive board member

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Autonomous trucks improve traffic safety and can help to reduce congestion through forward planning and optimise deployment times.

0 professional truck drivers

are already lacking at least in Germany today.


0 professional truck drivers

retire every year, only 17,000 start a new job.


A step into the future of commercial vehicles

In a globalised world, trucks are essential for the transport of goods. However, the sector is under pressure: In Germany alone, traffic jams cause billions of euros in economic damage every year and around 90 percent of road accidents are the result of human error. Furthermore, the lack of drivers is slowing economic growth and could lead to supply chain bottlenecks in the future. Figures from industry association BGL clearly show the seriousness of the situation: Germany is currently short of at least 60,000 professional truck drivers, and this shortfall is likely to get worse because the 17,000 or so new drivers who join the profession each year don’t make up for the 30,000 professional drivers who retire.

Self-driving trucks provide a solution. They can  certainly improve road safety, reduce congestion with forward planning and optimise operating hours. At the same time, self-driving trucks drive more evenly, making them more fuel-efficient and therefore more environmentally friendly. Automated processes throughout the supply chain – for example at depots, at transhipment points or between logistics centres – relieve the burden on drivers and can help to make truck driving a more attractive career prospect. That’s good for the profession, good for society, good for the companies and, last but not least, good for the environment – a multiple win-win situation.

With ATLAS-L4, those involved in the project are taking a huge step towards making autonomous commercial vehicles a reality. By the middle of the decade, a concept for the operation of autonomated trucks on the highway that can be transfered to industrialization should be available. Each partner brings its own expertise to the development of the driverless prototype truck.


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With its integrated approach bringing together industry expertise, software development, scientific research and Administration, ATLAS-L4 is unique. The following partners are involved in the project to bring autonomous trucks to the streets:

  • MAN


    MAN Truck & Bus is one of Europe's leading commercial vehicle manufacturers and transport solution providers, with an annual revenue of just under 11 billion euros (2021). The company's product portfolio includes vans, trucks, buses/coaches and diesel and gas engines along with services related to passenger and cargo transport. MAN Truck & Bus is a company of TRATON GROUP and employs more than 34,000 people worldwide.

    Autonomous commercial vehicles will result in a radical transformation of our customers’ business models – automation is a game changer. That is why MAN is collaborating with research and business partners to develop and test automated driving applications. The interplay of automation, digitalization, and electromobility is turning MAN into a provider of smart and sustainable transport solutions.

    Press contact:



    Knorr-Bremse is the global market leader for braking systems and a leading supplier of other rail and commercial vehicle systems. Knorr-Bremse’s products make a decisive contribution to greater safety and energy efficiency on rail tracks and roads around the world. About 29,500 employees at over 100 sites in more than 30 countries use their competence and motivation to satisfy customers worldwide with products and services. In 2020, Knorr-Bremse’s two divisions together generated revenues of 6.2 billion euros. For more than 115 years the company has been the industry innovator, driving innovation in mobility and transportation technologies with an edge in connected system solutions. Knorr-Bremse is one of Germany’s most successful industrial companies and profits from the key global megatrends: urbanization, sustainability, digitization and mobility.

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    LEONI is a global provider of energy and data management products, solutions and services for the automotive industry. Based on an in-depth understanding of the entire system and involvement in the initial development phases, LEONI adds significant technological and economic value for vehicle manufacturers. As a system provider, LEONI covers the entire spectrum, from design to series production. 

    The value chain ranges from standardised wiring to special cables and highly complex on-board systems, together with all the associated components. LEONI supports its customers as an innovation partner and solution provider with extensive development and system skills, helping to achieve ever more sustainable and networked mobility concepts through the development of the next generation of on-board systems.

    The listed group of companies employs around 100,000 people in 28 countries, with group turnover of 5.1 billion euros in 2021.

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    The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 401,300 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2021). According to preliminary figures, the company generated sales of 78.8 billion euros in 2021. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT provider, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, Industry 4.0, and connected mobility.

    Bosch is pursuing a vision of mobility that is sus-tainable, safe, and exciting. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to facilitate connected living with products and solutions that either contain artificial intelligence (AI) or have been developed or manufactured with its help. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. With its more than 400 locations worldwide, the Bosch Group has been carbon neutral since the first quarter of 2020. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 128 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 76,300 associates in research and development, of which more than 38,000 are software engineers.

    Contact Joern Ebberg:



    Fernride enables automated and sustainable logistics by combining the human skills of office-based drivers – known as teleoperators – with autonomous driving technologies in a scalable platform.

    In addition to the platform, this turnkey solution also includes sustainable trucks from leading OEMs, their seamless integration into existing logistics processes and their remote-controlled, reliable operation within the framework of custom “as-a-service” agreements. This means that logistics customers including DB Schenker and Volkswagen Group Logistics can already take the next step towards automating their processes today.

    Fernride was founded in 2019 by Hendrik Kramer, Dr. Maximilian Fisser and Jean-Michael Georg after ten years of research at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and quickly attracted venture capital (> 10 million euros in 2021), customers and talent, becoming a European Technology Champion.

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  • BTC Embedded Systems


    BTC Embedded Systems AG is a provider of software tools founded in 1999. With around 170 employees BTC Embedded Systems AG is present in Oldenburg, Berlin, Tokyo, Detroit, Paris, Timisoara, Shanghai and Nagoya. Partnerships with leading research institutes contribute to a continuous innovation process while partnerships with companies such as dSPACE and IBM ensure a perfect integration into our customers toolchains.



    The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security AISEC is a world-leading institution for applied research in cybersecurity. More than 100 highly qualified employees develop customized security concepts and solutions for businesses and the public sector, boosting the competitiveness of clients and partners. Fraunhofer AISEC designs solutions for enhanced data security and effective defence against cybercrimes such as corporate espionage and tampering attacks. The institute's portfolio ranges from embedded and hardware security, automotive and mobile security to security solutions for industry and automation. In addition, its cutting-edge test labs allow for evaluating the security of networked and embedded systems, hardware and software products as well as cloud and web-based services.

    Press contact:

    Tobias Steinhäußer | Frauenhofer-Institut für Angewandte und Integrierte Sicherheit AISEC | Lichtenbergstraße 11 | 85748 Garching bei München | Telephone +49 89 233 9986-170

  • TU Braunschweig


    The Electronic Vehicle Systems working group within the Institute of Control Engineering at the TU Braunschweig has been working on the concept of autonomous driving for more than ten years. The inherent risk posed by automated vehicles on the road is the central hypothesis that motivates the research undertaken by the working group. Alongside the aim of improving road safety, this also results in an aspiration to support a transparent handling of residual risks through the approaches developed. The working group’s research addresses primary aspects of safety – as a key feature of autonomous road vehicles as a requirement for their authorisation for use on public roads – throughout the entire development process. In the ATLAS-L4 project, the Institute of Control Engineering is mainly working on the creation of safety and release documentation, the formulation of system security requirements, the concept of self-awareness and the creation and implementation of test concepts for safety validation.



    The Technical University of Munich (TUM) is one of Europe’s leading research universities, with more than 600 professors, 48,000 students, and 11,000 academic and non-academic staff. Its focus areas are the engineering sciences, natural sciences, life sciences and medicine, combined with economic and social sciences. TUM acts as an entrepreneurial university that promotes talents and creates value for society. In that it profits from having strong partners in science and industry. It is represented worldwide with the TUM Asia campus in Singapore as well as offices in Beijing, Brussels, Mumbai, San Francisco, and São Paulo. Nobel Prize winners and inventors such as Rudolf Diesel, Carl von Linde, and Rudolf Mößbauer have done research at TUM. In 2006, 2012, and 2019 it won recognition as a German "Excellence University." In international rankings, TUM regularly places among the best universities in Germany.

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    Founded in 1866 as a steam boiler inspection association, the TÜV SÜD Group has evolved into a global enterprise. More than 25,000 employees work at over 1,000 locations in about 50 countries to continually improve technology, systems and expertise. They contribute significantly to making technical innovations such as Industry 4.0, autonomous driving and renewable energy safe and reliable.

    Press contact:

    Vincenzo Lucà | Telephone +49 89 5791-1667



    Established in 2018, the German motorway operator Autobahn GmbH is responsible for the planning, construction, operation, maintenance, financing and asset management of Germany's motorways and trunk roads as of January 1, 2021. With 13,000 kilometers of motorway, the Autobahn GmbH is one of the largest infrastructure operators.

    A centralized organization, together with regional and local expertise, makes it possible to combine the most effective solutions for a high-performance transport network. For the first time, the network can be considered in its entirety and uniform standards can be established nationwide. As a result, innovative and sustainable mobility projects are being undertaken with equal importance for society and the economy, in line with the motto "Shaping the mobility of the future sustainably". This challenging task is rooted in a wide variety of topics. To this end, we are developing principles for the (intelligent) operation of the motorway transportation system, pursuing the goal of optimizing traffic flows, traffic safety, and improving the environmental compatibility of our transportation system, while also acting as a driver for corresponding development projects. Further, we believe in strong connectivity on a national and international level and intend to expand our cooperation in this area.

    With the Traffic Center Germany (Verkehrszentrale Deutschland VZD) as part of our organization, we are building a master traffic center for the traffic management of the future. We are developing a digitized and automated traffic system with a focus on the future and are striving to become an international benchmark in this area.

Wide-ranging expertise

Commercial vehicle manufacturer MAN Truck & Bus is responsible for overall system development and the integration of all components into the vehicle. The transmission of data to the vehicle and the commissioning of the control centre that will provide the technical monitoring of the test runs as specified in the legislation on self-driving vehicles are also MAN’s responsibility.

Knorr-Bremse, the global market leader for braking systems, is developing a special, redundant braking system architecture which will enable trucks with Level-4 autonomy to operate safely in any situation.

Project partner Leoni’s task is to ensure that both the on-board network and the electronic cable distribution for the automation system always work reliably, regardless of any possible faults that may occur.

Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH is developing an error-tolerant steering system for ATLAS-L4 that meets all the requirements of SAE-Level-4-automation.

Munich-based start-up Fernride is researching teleoperation possibilities in the hub-to-hub-scenario addressed by the project. With Fernride’s teleoperations platform, autonomous vehicles can be monitored and controlled remotely if necessary.

The test tool manufacturer BTC Embedded Systems AG concentrates on scenario-based and simulated test procedures for whole-vehicle verification and safety validation, paying special attention to critical driving situations.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security AISEC is developing methods for security risk analyses within the project, specially tailored to the field of automated trucks.

The Institute of Control Engineering at the TU Braunschweig is developing concepts for the safe operation of Level-4-trucks and the technical self-awareness of automated vehicles.

The TUM Institute of Automotive Technology is contributing its expertise in a variety of aspects of driving dynamics and developing interaction concepts for technical supervision.

TÜV SÜD will bring its extensive experience of test environments for automated vehicles to the project test runs, examining the capabilities of the vehicles themselves and the validity of the simulations and evaluating the safety of the vehicles in this sponsorship project as part of the approval process.

With the introduction of its first cooperative “roadworks warning” service, Autobahn GmbH has laid the foundations for the networked and automated traffic system of the future and contributes its experience regarding the requirements for automated driving to the ATLAS-L4 project from the roads operator’s point of view.

Read the statements of the project partners here


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Find the latest news from the ATLAS-L4 project here. Any questions? Just contact