“Truck platooning is applicable, affordable and available”

Volvo Trucks, platooning

“Truck platooning is applicable, affordable and available.” Such was the conclusion after the major European test. “We created gold. Now let’s make it a business case,” enthused the organisers of the European Truck Platooning Challenge looking ahead to the future.

“It’s a great feeling for all of us to look back at the Challenge,” said André van Lammeren (Director Mobility and Infrastructure, Rijkswaterstaat) who coordinates the European Truck Platooning Challenge. “I’m talking about the massive interest in this project shown by governments, industry, road authorities and operators, knowledge institutes and suppliers of logistics services – plus the commitment they showed, as a community, and the way they collected knowledge and experience. But today is about looking forward.”

Truck Platooning with DAF and Volvo

Convoys of self-driving trucks were tested on Belgian roads on 6 April. Volvo Trucks and DAF are among the participants in the European Truck Platooning project, which can be viewed on YouTube.

Each make was driving separately, with two or three trucks following each other in a convoy. In platooning the driver of the first truck determines the speed and movements of the trucks that follow. Wi-Fi, GPS and radar communication systems linking the trucks tell them exactly which movements to make, when they have to brake, and the road condition ahead of them.

Westerlo-based DAF Trucks rated the test as positive. “Obviously, a lot more continued development is necessary before truck platooning can be introduced on the road as a new technology,” said Ron Borsboom, member of the Board of Management of DAF Trucks and responsible for product development. “Much remains to be settled in terms of legislation, liability and acceptance.”

European Commission invested 240 million

The European Commission is playing an important role in the project. Over the past ten years the European Commission has co-financed 35 projects in the field of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, Connectivity and Automated Driving. This represents a total of around € 240 million.

According to Liam Breslin (European Commission), these projects made a substantial contribution to the advance of technology in the area of automated and connected driving. “Truck platooning will be realised sooner than we think,” said an optimistic Breslin.