Automated and connected driving technology is changing the automotive industry and the way we drive. This has been made evident at the recent Connected Cars World in London, England, where cross-interaction between OEMs, automakers, and service providers agreed with TNS' research that eight in 10 new cars will be connected by 2020.
However, connected and autonomous features are not car-exclusive. Motorcycles, taxis, and trucks are going through the transformation toward connectivity and the self-driving vehicle future as well.
Connected trucks could potentially disrupt the logistics industry. This has started to be seen in a series of ongoing projects organized by governments.
Challenge brings opportunities to logistics
Platooning is a means to enable innovation in logistics. During the next five years, this innovation will also be synonym of disruption. The logistics industry is going to see tangible opportunities thanks to projects such as the European Truck Platooning Challenge.
A fleet of trucks from major manufacturers drove themselves across Europe completing a week of autonomous driving as part of an initiative by the Netherlands during its 2016 EU Presidency. Image courtesy of Volvo and the European Truck Platooning Challenge)
The aim of the initiative is to bring platooning one step closer to implementation, making logistics and mobility more efficient with faster deliveries, increased road safety, less fuel consumption, less CO2 emissions, with the belief that truck platooning will create great possibilities for convoy driving between countries.
With all this in mind, the European Truck Platooning Challenge 2016 was created on October 2015 in Bordeaux, France during the 22nd ITS World Congress, the world's largest event in intelligent transport systems and services, with the participation of governments, the truck industry, logistics services, authorities, and research institutions to develop cross-border truck platooning in Europe, the first in the world.
Six different truck manufacturers participated in the challenge. The trucks started their journey from six different locations in Europe and drove themselves to Rotterdam, the Netherlands (Image courtesy European Truck Platooning Challenge)
"Platooning will become a reality on a big scale somewhere around 2030 at the latest," said Pil Nilsson, Member of Parliament. She also emphasized that a behavioral change needs to be addressed for autonomous trucks to be accepted by other drivers on the roads.
Autonomous truck platooning brings new logistics solutions for more effective and safer road transportation.
Truck platooning will enhance logistics toward 2020 creating the next generation mobility. The trucks are enhanced with wireless Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication which is 25 times faster than human reaction times.
NXP provides state-of-the-art wireless communication technology supporting camera and radar sensors. TNO develops platooning technology. Virtual connections are via WiFi-P. All trucks have automatic braking and acceleration, and automatic steering support reduce workloads for following drivers
Truck platooning connected and autonomous driving are:
More efficient: communication between drivers, improves traffic flow, higher safety levels --all trucks in the platoon brake simultaneously with 100 percent of reliability
Safer: thanks to logistics implementations, public acceptance, international legislation
Require less road capacity
Consumes 10% less fuel
Reduces 10% of CO2 emissions
The first benefit of platooning is the reduction of fuel and CO2 emissions, which benefit the environment we all share.
The European Truck Platooning Challenge 2016 video below provides a quick view to understanding the importance of the project:
The video shows how the trucks communicate with each other, controlling speed, distance, and braking. The trucks following the leading truck use radars, cameras, and communication system listening to the vehicles in front and quickly adapting if there are changes in speed and acceleration.
Logistics is undoubtedly leading the way in the new future of connected and self-driving vehicles. Once the benefits are clearly seen and understood there will be no doubt about which road will lead to successful logistics operations.
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