The trucks will cross European borders, travelling through cities to reach their final destination at the Port of Rotterdam on 6 April.
Dubbed the European Truck Platooning Challenge – and organised by the Netherlands as part of its EU presidency – the initiative aims to accelerate the introduction of truck platoons by putting the subject high on the agenda of EU policy makers.
DAF Trucks, Iveco, MAN Truck & Bus, Mercedes-Benz, Scania and Volvo Group are the participants – working with member states, logistics service providers, road operators, road and vehicle approval authorities.
ACEA (the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association) states that their co-operation is essential to prevent individual countries from creating “a patchwork of rules and regulations, which could hinder investments in automated and connected vehicles”.
Looking ahead, it is important that relevant legislation is harmonised throughout Europe, says ACEA, adding that countries need to recognise each other’s procedures and requirements.
Truck platooning involves ‘digitally connecting’ vehicles so they follow one other at a set, close distance, using automated driving support systems. The truck at the head of the platoon leads, with the vehicles behind reacting and adapting to changes in its movement.
ACEA states that truck platooning can help make road transport “safer, cleaner and more efficient” for the future.
Platooning should result in reduced fuel consumption, with the trucks benefitting from the aerodynamics of close proximity, as well as reduced braking and acceleration.
ACEA believes that truck platooning has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 10%. The organisation also refers to studies that suggest connected driving can help improve safety, as braking is automatic with virtually zero reaction time.
Truck platooning is seen as part of the transport industry’s integrated approach to reducing CO2 emissions – also including trailer design, alternative fuels, logistics,= and infrastructure .