Scania leads European research project on vehicle platooning
Scania will take the lead role in a three-year European research project to develop a system for implementing truck platooning on roads.
Introducing platooning on European roads can significantly contribute towards reducing the carbon footprint of trucks. The European Union has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 20 percent by 2020. Heavy vehicles currently account for 17 percent of total CO2 emissions.
Through the EUR 5.4 m. COMPANION research project, of which EUR 3.4 m. is funded by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme, the partners will identify means of implementing the platooning concept in practice in daily transport operations. The project also includes Volkswagen Group Research, Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology, (KTH), Oldenburger Institut für Informatik (OFFIS) in Germany, IDIADA Automotive Technology in Spain, Science [&]Corporation (S[&]T) in the Netherlands and the Spanish haulage company Transportes Cerezuela.
The benefits of reduced aerodynamic drag are well-established. Over the past two years, Scania has implemented platooning concepts in its own transport operations and has shown that fuel savings of up to five percent can be achieved through reduced drag.
“We hope that this project will increase awareness in Europe of the many advantages of platooning,” says Sven-Åke Edström, Senior Vice President, Truck, Cab and Bus Chassis Development. “Platooning will require standardised support systems as well as legislative action that will be clarified in this project.”
Depending on the transport assignment, haulage companies will be able to identify the optimal route with regard to fuel consumption. Through an integrated system, drivers will receive information on where they can join and leave platoons. This integrated information system will clearly describe available alternatives, taking into account such variables as weather conditions, the traffic situation and delivery schedules as well as the weight and speed of the truck combination.
The project will pay particular attention to how information is presented to drivers regarding where they can join and leave platoons. Since the driver is ultimately responsible for his or her vehicle, information will be designed to facilitate decision-making with tips on increasing or decreasing speed, for example. Moreover, the technical and safety aspects of platooning will be examined further.
The project will also propose common EU regulations permitting shorter distances between trucks in the platoon. The shorter the distance, the greater the fuel saving that can be achieved. However, this would require vehicles to be interconnected through wireless communication systems.
With Spanish companies IDIADA and Transportes Cerezuela as partners, the aim is to test the entire system on Spanish roads during the autumn of 2016. “It’s also a major advantage at this early stage of the project to include future users and thereby benefit from customer feedback,” says Project Coordinator Magnus Adolfson, Head of Intelligent Transport Systems and Services at Scania.
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