Anders Kellström, project manager for Volvo’s participation in the platooning challenge, says the platoon enjoyed a “fantastic” reaction from the public.
“In Denmark, families were sitting with picnics along the side of the road to see us drive by,” he says.
“We drove in a convoy for over 1,500 km on public roads and gained a lot of great experience, not just about the technology, but also about traffic environment,” he continues.
“Everything went totally according to plan, which is a great feeling.”
Kellström explains that the purpose of the truck platoon challenge was to highlight the changes required in European transport legislation to facilitate platooning.
It is currently not possible to utilise the advantages of platooning on Europe’s roads, since legislation in the various countries governing the driving distance between trucks differs, he said.
“We have now created a unique collaboration in terms of future transport solutions that goes beyond both national and organisational boundaries,” states Andreas Svenungsson, head of public affairs at Volvo Group.
“We note that there are varying interpretations of laws in different countries with regard to self-driving vehicles, but we feel that the collaboration ... is an important step toward increased harmonization and more efficient transportation.”
Platooning involves trucks driving closely behind each other while communicating wirelessly – resulting in improved fuel economy due to the reduction in aerodynamic drag.
By communicating with each other wirelessly, the trucks automatically match each other’s speed and braking, with reaction times reduced to zero.
This in turns leads to improved safety and a reduced ‘wave effect’ linked to traffic congestion.