Seven trucks from Daf, Daimler, Iveco, MAN, Renault, Scania and Volvo drove for the first time ‘in a train’ together in a fully coordinated platoon at the demonstration near Barcelona.
Platooning saves fuel. The trucks drive so close to each other that there is less wind resistance. It should also improve road safety.
The project, which was partly paid for with a European subsidy, has been in the works for three years. Important is a special communication system that exchanges information. “It improves fuel consumption, road safety and makes the logistics process more efficient”. says project coordinator Marika Hoedemaeker.
Difference with adaptive cruise control
22 parties were involved in the project. “There is a big difference with adaptive cruise control,” TNO spokesperson Maarten Lörtzer told RTL Z. Cameras and radar are used in adaptive cruise control, which many luxury modern cars are equipped with today. The following car sees whether the car in front of it is braking or whether the distance is increasing and adjusts its speed accordingly.
There is always a delay in this, so that, for example, the seventh car in the row reacts strongly to what is happening in front of it. There is no such delay in platooning. Lörtzer: “The trucks communicate continuously with each other. The truck in front is leading and indicates, I’m going to brake now, we are driving this route and at this speed. The rest then adapt.”
Work has been done, among other things, on a secure communication system that, according to TNO, is resistant to hackers.
Pairing at Antwerp
“Strategic information can also be exchanged. Suppose two drivers have to go to the French city of Dijon, but one departs from Rotterdam and the other from Breda. Then the trucks can exchange information. both stop at Antwerp where we can connect and continue driving,” said the TNO spokesperson.
The advantages are obvious, thinks TNO. “The driver still has to steer, but has an extra tool. Last week’s demonstration proved that the various brands of trucks can work together. We are now continuing with it.”
One of the things that needs to be looked at is what happens when cars want to merge between the trucks. “On the highway itself, motorists will not do that, because the trucks drive so close to each other. But at an entrance or exit you have to give them the opportunity.”