Photo credits @ Flickr/ Joost J. Bakker CC BY 2.0 Deed

Oversized transport in Germany: nationwide trial of ‘digital pilot’ launched

Digital pilots are to replace physical employees who assist lorry drivers in transporting bulky and heavy loads, thus optimising the process. The Federal Ministry of Digitalisation and Transport (BMDV) in Germany has launched a nationwide pilot project cooperating with the federal states.

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The term “digital pilot” refers to electronic driver assistance systems that navigate HGVs and HGVs along approved routes in real-time and display the rules to be followed as specified in the permit and approval notice, such as driving instructions.

In the future, there will be no need for a human pilot, although the choice will be up to the transport company.

Pilot tests of the solution are already underway in a number of states and have been tested on motorways since March 2024. The nationwide pilot will be conducted according to uniform specifications.

Relief for the transport industry

“The digital pilot demonstrates how smart digital solutions can relieve the burden on logisticians without compromising traffic safety and protecting road infrastructure. The digital pilot means significant relief for the transport industry,” said Oliver Luksic, State Secretary at the German Ministry of Transport.

In the future, licensing and GST approval authorities will include a provision for the use of the digital pilot, agreed upon between the federal and state governments, in their notifications, reports the BMDV.

Once the digital pilot study currently being carried out by the Federal Highway Administration (BASt) is completed, the federal government, in consultation with the states, will propose a plan for the permanent and regular approval of the solution.