Efficient transportation: Volkswagen Truck & Bus launching trial projects for digital truck platoons
In what is the world’s largest pilot project of this kind, Scania will be developing and testing a comprehensive platooning solution in Singapore. Truck platoons each composed of four trucks are to cover a distance of ten kilometers on public roads to transport containers between various port terminals. The driver of the first truck will set the speed and direction, with the following three vehicles driving autonomously. This project has been commissioned by the Singapore port authority and the ministry of transport.
Given the high population density and lack of drivers, the Singapore government is interested in new technology-based transportation solutions. During the first phase of the project, Scania will be trialing the technology at its own test facility in Södertälje, Sweden, where it will be customizing it to meet local conditions. After this has been completed, the second phase will involve testing in Singapore.
MAN: partnership with Schenker DB planned
MAN and logistics specialist DB Schenker are also forging a platooning partnership. It marks the first platooning alliance between an automotive manufacturer and a logistics company. Its purpose is to test platooning under realistic conditions over an extended period of time to gain meaningful data. For this purpose, a truck platoon is to travel on the A9 motorway between Munich and Nuremberg from 2018. In the ensuing step, the platoon is to be used at DB Schenker’s facility in Nuremberg.
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions can be reduced considerably on the road
Given the growing volume of traffic on public roads, there is a strong need for improved traffic flows. The advantages of platooning are obvious: thanks to the small distance of only ten to fifteen meters between the trucks, fuel savings of up ten percent can be achieved. This also results in a substantial reduction in CO2emissions. A further advantage is the lower risk of accidents.
Road safety improved
Andreas Renschler, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG and Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH stresses: “The pilot projects are key components of more efficient transportation of goods on the road. Platooning is beneficial for the environment, improves the flow of traffic and increases road safety. What we now need is the legislative framework allowing us to introduce platooning on public roads.”
Joachim Drees, Chairman of the Executive Board of MAN SE and MAN Truck & Bus AG, explains: “Platooning offers clear advantages in terms of fuel consumption and a reduced risk of accidents. The tests performed to date have shown this. Now we want to work with DB Schenker to demonstrate what platooning is capable of in real-life conditions.
Platooning is a vehicle system for the road in which several trucks drive in a convoy with the support of technical driver assistance and control systems. They are linked by an electronic drawbar. The driver of the first vehicles sets the speed and the direction. Each platoon truck has a driver on board who is able to intervene in an emergency. The use of platooning in Europe will be technically possible from around 2020. However, implementation is contingent upon the legislative framework being duly modified in EU countries.
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