Truck platoon to head for Rotterdam from Sweden

Three connected Volvo trucks driving in close formation will take part in the European Truck Platooning Challenge in a drive from Gothenburg to Rotterdam.

Volvo trucks self-driving platoonVolvo is taking part in the European Truck Platooning Challenge, a programme initiated by the Dutch Presidency of the EU. As part of the project, a total of three Volvo trucks will communicate wirelessly with each other whilst driving in close formation. They will travel in this way through Europe to the Dutch city of Rotterdam with the goal of taking the necessary steps to get closer to the introduction of truck platooning in Europe.

When trucks can drive closely behind one another, fuel economy is improved as a result of the reduction in drag. Drag accounts for up to 25% of a truck’s total fuel consumption, and the closer the trucks drive to each other, the greater the fuel-saving potential. Using wireless technology, the trucks can drive with only about a one-second gap between the vehicles in a platoon. By communicating with each other, the trucks automatically match each other’s speed and braking.

“Essentially, this means that the reaction time for braking is reduced to zero, which in turn improves safety and minimises the ‘accordion effect’ in connection with traffic congestion,” says Anders Kellström, Project Manager for Volvo’s participation in the EU Truck Platooning Challenge.

It is currently not possible to make use of the advantages of platooning on Europe’s roads, since legislation in the various countries governing the safe driving distance between trucks differs. The Netherlands has initiated the European Truck Platooning Challenge in an effort to discuss and highlight the changes required in European transport legislation that would facilitate the introduction of platooning. All truck manufacturers in Europe have been invited to drive truck convoys from their respective countries to a final event in Rotterdam in April.

The Volvo Group will participate by driving three trucks in a platoon from Gothenburg to Rotterdam in the Netherlands via Denmark, Germany and Belgium. Volvo, in cooperation with the Swedish Transport Administration and the City of Gothenburg, will arrange a seminar in Gothenburg in conjunction with the start of the journey to address the potential to enhance the efficiency of transport through platooning and autonomous driving. A similar seminar will be arranged by Volvo Trucks in Brussels on April 5, 2016.

“We believe that platooning offers major advantages, mainly for our customers, but also for society in the form of fuel savings, reduced emissions and enhanced transport efficiency. Together with the rest of society, the transport industry needs to tackle such challenges as the harmonisation of legislation, and in so doing promote the introduction of platooning in Europe,” says Anders Kellström.

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Sustainable transport

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