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Volvo truck platoon meets with positive reaction
Three Volvo trucks travelling in platoon formation arrived in Rotterdam to positive reactions from decision makers and the general public alike.
The platoon of three heavy goods vehicles from Volvo, which travelled from Gothenburg to Rotterdam last week as part of the EU Truck Platooning Challenge, has been met with great success. The HGV trucks drove in close formation, maintaining a safe speed and distance through the innovative use of wireless communications between their control systems. The even was met with positive reactions from the public as well as politicians.
Truck Platooning Challenge project manager at Volvo, Anders Kellström enjoyed people’s reactions to the platoon and remarked on the fact that there were even families in Denmark who were sat by the road with their picnics to enjoy the spectacle of the passing platoon.
“We drove in a convoy for over 1,500 km on public roads and gained a lot of great experience, not just about the technology but also about traffic environment. Everything went totally according to plan, which is a great feeling,” he said.
The purpose of the journey was to discuss and highlight the changes required in European transportation legislation that would facilitate the introduction of platooning. It is currently not possible to utilise the advantages of platooning on Europe’s roads, since legislation in the various countries governing the driving distance between trucks differs.
“We have now created a unique collaboration in terms of future transport systems that goes beyond both national and organisational boundaries,” explains Andreas Svenungsson, Head of Public Affairs at the Volvo Group. “We note that there are varying interpretations of laws and provisions in different countries with regard to self-driving vehicles, but we feel that the tangible collaboration we have now commenced is an important step toward increased harmonisation and more efficient transportation.”
Platooning involves trucks driving closely behind each other while communicating wirelessly. The vehicles’ 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. By communicating with each other wirelessly, the trucks automatically match each other’s speed and braking. This means that, in principle, reaction times is reduced to zero when braking. This in turns leads to improved safety and a reduced “accordion effect” linked to traffic congestion.