Volkswagen Truck & Bus launches two truck platooning projects; Scania in Singapore, MAN and Schenker in Germany
Volkswagen Truck & Bus companies have launched two truck platooning pilot projects: one, with Scania in Singapore (earlier post), the other with MAN and Schenker DB in Germany. Platooning is system in which several trucks drive in a convoy with the support of advanced driver assistance and control systems. They are linked by an “electronic drawbar”. The driver of the first vehicle sets the speed and the direction. Each platoon truck has a driver on board who is able to intervene in an emergency.
In Singapore, in the world’s largest pilot project of this kind, Scania will be developing and testing a comprehensive platooning solution. Truck platoons each composed of four trucks will cover a distance of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) 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.
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 and logistics specialist DB Schenker are also forging a platooning partnership. This 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.
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 10-15 meters between the trucks, fuel savings of up 10% can be achieved. This also results in a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions. A further advantage is the lower risk of accidents.
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.—Andreas Renschler, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG and Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH
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.