Photo: Volvo Group

Photo: Volvo Group

Six European truck makers are participating in next month's European Truck Platooning Challenge, a project initiated by the Dutch government to promote platooning by bringing truck convoys to public roads.

Volvo Group started its participation in the European Truck Platooning Challenge on March 18, sending a group of semi-automated trucks out from the city of Gothenburg, Sweden, driving to the Netherlands on public roads.

A set of three Volvo trucks will drive closely behind one another to reduce drag. The trucks will be connected wirelessly to allow them all to brake and accelerate in unison and reduce the distance between trucks to only about a one-second gap.

“Essentially, this means that the reaction time for braking is reduced to zero, which in turn improves safety and minimizes the ‘accordion effect’ in connection with traffic congestion,” said Anders Kellström, project manager for Volvo’s participation in the EU Truck Platooning Challenge.

In addition to Volvo, participants in the challenge include Daimler Trucks, DAF Trucks, Iveco, Man Truck & Bus and Scania.

The truck platoons will drive on public roads, crossing borders to reach their final destination in Rotterdam, Netherlands, by April 6. The challenge requires cooperation between manufacturers, member states, governments, logistics providers, road operators, authorities and research institutes.

It is currently not possible to platoon on European roads since legislation in several countries requires differing safe driving distances between trucks. Part of the reason for the challenge is to help convince governments to agree on a set of standards and rules.

The platooning Volvo trucks will travel from Gothenburg to Rotterdam by driving through Denmark, Germany and Belgium.

“We believe that platooning offers major advantages, mainly for our customers, but also for society in the form of fuel savings, reduced emissions and enhanced transportation efficiency,” said Anders Kellström. “Together with the rest of society, the transportation industry needs to tackle such challenges as the harmonization of legislation, and in so doing promote the introduction of platooning in Europe.”