Six convoys, or ‘platoons’ of semi-autonomous trucks arrived in Rotterdam harbour yesterday, having driven from a number of European cities.
The trucks’ arrival was the climax of the European Truck Platooning Challenge organised by the Dutch government, which said driving in platoons across national borders represented ‘a global first’.
Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Dutch minister for infrastructure and the environment, said: ‘The results of this first ever major try-out in Europe are promising. Truck platooning ensures that transport is cleaner and more efficient. Self-driving vehicles also improve traffic safety because most traffic accidents are due to human error.
The six truck platoons arrived in Rotterdam yesterday
‘As the test shows, the technology has come a long way already. What it also makes clear is that we Europeans need to better harmonise rules of the road and rules for drivers. This will open the door for upscaled, cross-border truck platooning.’
Truck platooning means that two or three trucks connected by Wi-Fi drive in a column, with the first truck determining the speed and route. This enables shorter gaps between following trucks and frees space for other vehicles.
The Wi-Fi connection ensures synchronised braking and can prevent sudden jolt/shock effects. Truck platooning has the potential to improve traffic flows, as well as saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions.
The challenge featured vehicles from DAF Trucks, Daimler Trucks, Iveco, MAN Truck & Bus, Scania and Volvo Group driving from countries such as Sweden and Germany.
Under Highways England’s Innovation Strategy, launched earlier this week, it will work with the Government to trial truck-platooning on strategic roads in England