84th Geneva International Motor Show

Technology from the Intralogistics Sector Supports Autonomous Driving

Linde Material Handling supports the vision of a driver-less car in the new “XchangE” concept vehicle of Rinspeed AG, Switzerland

With the all-electric “XchangE” touring sedan – one of the highlights at this year’s Geneva Motor Show – Rinspeed boss, Frank M. Rinderknecht, has conceived the self-driving car from a driver’s perspective. He provides an answer to the key question: What to do when cruising along a highway at 140 km/h and the car is steering by itself? Linde Material Handling’s connectivity solution connect: ensures that the driver can relax and thoroughly enjoy the time gained. The connect: hardware unit collects and transmits all the technical data that are necessary to monitor the autonomous driving of the “XchangE”. Furthermore, together with Deutsche Telekom, Linde Material Handling also demonstrates the additional benefits attainable from connecting vehicles with IT systems. To this end, the “microMAX” – the app automobile equipped with electric drive from Linde MH, which made its debut in Geneva in 2013 – this year acts as a Linde service vehicle and stands for the combination of Linde connect: with Deutsche Telekom’s Arrival Control app, which is currently being tested as an extended service at Linde MH.

With the data logging & transfer unit incorporated in the “XchangE”, Linde Material Handling demonstrates the functionality and performance capacity of its connect: product suite. These connectivity solutions are used in the company’s own as well as in third-party industrial trucks today and in the future too. They will enable the efficient maintenance, operation and control of individual pieces of equipment or entire vehicle fleets. Moreover, in the “XchangE”, Linde’s connect: also allows for intelligent access control with the help of RFID technology.

“While road safety is in focus when it comes to networking cars, the top priorities in the field of material flow are planning efficiency and cost effectiveness. However, the technical requirements are very similar: Countless vehicle and sensor values need to be collected, aggregated and transmitted to servers via mobile communications or other means,” explains Maik Manthey, Vice President of Linde’s New Business & Products division and thus also responsible for the Connected Solutions business unit. “Then a forklift control system, a fleet management system or an operating platform such as in the “XchangE” can access these data collections and process them.”

The connect: hardware unit of the Connected Solutions product suite developed by Linde Material Handling collects and transmits all the technical data that are necessary to monitor the autonomous driving of the “XchangE”.

The combination of Linde connect: and Deutsche Telekom’s Arrival Control app in the “microMAX” as a service vehicle bridges the gap between the “XchangE” vision and the automation of processes that can be accomplished today through the networking of IT and machinery. The Arrival Control app is a business solution for service and logistics companies, which allows users to track the current location and estimated time of arrival of a person or consignment down to the minute via SMS, email or the Internet. Deutsche Telekom and Linde Material Handling have signed a cooperation agreement to test the use of the Arrival Control app as an extended service in the Customer Services division.

Thanks to a largely automated process, which includes the collection and transmission of the vehicle error code, the ordering of spare parts and the scheduling of the service technician (connect:) as well as the ongoing customer information (Arrival Control) regarding the status of service processes, significant time savings and a high degree of transparency and predictability can be achieved for customers. The downtime of vehicles is minimized and the servicing processes are shorter since, for example, call-outs for error diagnosis are no longer necessary. This results in higher economic efficiency and contributes to environmental protection.