A "platoon" of connected trucks completed a 1,300 mile trip across Europe to prove the concept of autonomous truck platooning.
A dozen trucks from various manufacturers (from six different brands) took part in the European Truck Platooning Challenge, according to Gizmodo. This concept for truck platooning is based on the idea of linking several autonomous trucks with Wi-Fi to form a tight convoy. By using slipstreaming to prevent access and save fuel, this can make life easier for drivers.
According to the website eurotruckplatooning.com , each truck platoon departed from its production location or home base. Scania left from Södertalje, south of Stockholm, driving to Maasvlakte II in the Port of Rotterdam. Volvo started from Gothenburg and stopped in Vilvoorde. MAN started from Munich and Daimler from Stuttgart (both in Southern Germany). DAF started from their production location in Westerlo, Belgium and IVECO departed from Brussels.
Trucks linked up to platoon together and eventually ended their journey in Rotterdam. This is the first cross-border demonstration of truck platooning and also a test that involved different brands. In the end, everything proved to be a resounding success.
Platooning is a much easier than the fully-autonomous vehicles that Apple, Google and other automakers are working on. Trucks just need to follow in a line and to talk to each other to form a platoon, rather than navigate the road by calculating complex variables.
Self-driving trucks are probably the easiest and the most obvious potential beneficiaries of autonomous technology. The convoy of wireless-linked trucks has giving a glimpse of the future of road haulage, according to The Guardian.
Truck platooning will come online much sooner than driverless cars. The Dutch infrastructure and environment minister, Melanie Schultz van Haegen, explained that truck platooning has the potential to contribute in the near future to road safety and to ensure more efficient and cleaner transport.
We invite you to share with us your opinions on the benefits of truck platooning and your own vision about the perspectives of autonomous driving in the near future.