DAF Trucks demonstrates autonomous platoons for real 06 April 2016

DAF Trucks NXP Semiconductors, TNO and Ricardo successfully demonstrated the power of platooning and self-driving autonomous truck technologies yesterday (5 April 2016).

The consortium ran its EcoTwin technology using vehicle-to-vehicle communications based on NXP’s high-speed RoadLINK, which uses the wireless IEEE 802.11p standard operating with NXP’s radar.

This technology combination enables the truck platoon to exchange information securely and in real time, in order to automatically brake and accelerate the following truck in response to the lead unit – reacting 25 times faster than an average human driver.

Yesterday’s test demonstrated that the high-speed communications allows extremely tight distances between the platooning Trucks – measured as 0.5 seconds or 10 metres separation at 50 mph.

The RoadLINK system is built into the mirrors of the DAF Trucks and operates over four secure channels to ensures extremely reliable communication. It also provides real time video and bi-directional audio communication between the two vehicles.

Audio allows the drivers to talk to each other without relying on cellular networks, while the vehicle-to-vehicle communications also link a front-mounted camera on the lead truck to the follower, so that its driver sees the road ahead.

“It goes without saying that there is still a lot of development required before we can introduce platooning as a new technology on the market,” says Ron Borsboom, DAF board member responsible for product development.

“This is definitely not a process that will be complete before 2020... There is still a great deal that has to be sorted out in terms of legislation, liability and acceptance.”

The demonstration is part of the European Truck Platooning Challenge, organised by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.

The challenge is designed to bring autonomous platooning one step closer to implementation by showcasing economic, traffic management and safety advantages.

Brian Tinham

Related Companies
DAF Trucks Ltd
NXP Semiconductors
Ricardo UK Ltd

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