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NXP and DAF Trucks commit to set new benchmark in truck platooning: 30x faster than human reaction time

NXP Semiconductors N.V. and DAF Trucks announced plans to empower truck platoons to react 30 times faster than humans in 2017, enabling a reduced distance between platooning trucks. Achieving this goal would mark a significant milestone in the introduction of platooning to fleet operators who expect considerable efficiency and safety gains while maintaining a maximum level of data security.

In Munich, NXP and its partners are showcasing the progress of secure intelligent transport systems in advance of this year’s electronica show. The demonstrations include platooning live on Munich roads, traffic signal and vehicle synchronization, and technology that protects vulnerable road users based on secure vehicle-to-everything technology (V2X). Platooning promises to increase fuel efficiency up to 10%, improve road safety and reduce exhaust emissions.

Ricardo, TNO, NXP and DAF Trucks—members of the EcoTwin Truck Platooning Project—are in the research phase aiming to reduce the distance between platooning trucks by another 40% in 2017.

NXP, DAF Trucks, TNO and Ricardo previously achieved a breakthrough truck platooning distance of 0.5 seconds between trucks. While platooning at 80 km/h (50 mph), trucks that were linked wirelessly via V2X technology, along with high-performance camera and radar systems, were able to maintain a distance of 11 meters flawlessly. The consortium is now cooperating to further bring down the minimum distance between trucks by another 40% (to 0.3 seconds which equals 7 meters at 80 km/h).

In this new context, the platooning system will need to reliably react 30 times faster than a human driver. This requires the wireless communication between trucks to take place in the timeframe of milliseconds.

This breakthrough will be achieved through a variety of technology enhancements that improve safety:

  • The integration of a powerful Sensor Fusion and Control System that can create, monitor and maintain platooning and driving modes in a functionally safe way, even with the occurrence of external hazards or internal malfunctioning system-behavior. Even in the latter situations, the convoy will operate fail-safe.

  • The system will need to operate at a high functional safety level to enable the shorter driving distance safely. This will be accomplished by using ASIL ("functional safety") qualified components from NXP such as microcontrollers, microprocessors, power management ICs, and networking components. The basis for the system development is the NXP BlueBox platform that incorporates most of the aforementioned components.

  • Enhanced radar will detect road interferences (such as cars cutting in) faster and more accurately to seamlessly adjust the distance between the trucks. For this purpose, NXP is also announcing a new, high-performance radar microcontroller at Electronica 2016.

New radar microcontroller. The new automotive radar microcontroller (MCU), the NXP S32R27, offers a leap in performance of 4 times over the previous MPC577X product. This means higher accuracy and safety for applications such as collision avoidance, lane change assist, autonomous emergency braking, radar cocooning with 360° perception, or adaptive cruise control. In intelligent transport systems, vulnerable road users (VRUs) like pedestrians, motorcycles and bicycles can be detected and tracked much faster.

The S32R27 is currently sampling with lead automotive customers and will be made available to the general market (both automotive and non-automotive) in the second half of 2017.

NXP is the leading supplier of MCUs and radar front-end devices in the ADAS market and estimates that more than 50% of the radar modules shipped in 2016 will utilize NXP radar processing and front-end technology.

At electronica, the S32R27 will be a core part of two demonstrations showcased by NXP. A miniature Local Motors shuttle bus will feature the S32R27 combined with NXP’s MR3003 SiGe radar transceiver at the NXP booth in Hall A6. A second demonstration, showcased in the NXP Smarter World Tour truck, will feature the S32R27 in combination with NXP TEF810x RFCMOS transceiver.



It is cool, if a little scary.
If you had reliable wireless links, you could bunch them right up, like a train, but with wireless rather than metal links.

You might have to run them a bit faster than 80kph, however - 100kph anyone ?
The lead driver could drive and the rest could sleep or watch DVDs.


A single (lead) driver should be able to take an electronically linked truck train from A to Z. All other drivers (up to 20) could stay behind to set up the next trains or return to get more trucks?

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