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A consortium of TNO, DAF Trucks, NXP and Ricardo is taking part with EcoTwin in the European Truck Platooning Challenge, an event organised by the Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment on 6 April. The aim of the Challenge is to gain permission from the authorities to be able to test wireless connected truck combinations (‘platoons’) in Europe and on a large scale. By driving close one behind the other, gains can be made in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, safety and traffic flow.
In Truck Platooning trucks drive close one behind the other using automated driving technology. The Truck Platooning Challenge will demonstrate that a second vehicle is technically capable of automatically following the combination in front using Wifi-P, radar and cameras. Although the ‘EcoTwin’ project had already demonstrated that the second vehicle is capable of automatic steering, the emphasis during the Truck Platooning Challenge lies on independent acceleration and braking whereby the planned distance between the two combinations is half a second, equivalent to a distance between them of 10 metres at a speed of 80 km/hr.
Unique to the ‘EcoTwin’ combination is the sophisticated Wifi-P connection developed by NXP and specially geared to automotive applications. The high speed of the communication allows the two DAF trucks to drive even closer to each other. Wifi-P also gives the drivers of the ‘EcoTwin’ combinations the possibility when driving to communicate with each other and what the driver in the lead truck sees is displayed on a screen in the following truck (‘See Through’).
By enabling trucks to drive so close to each other and making maximum use of the aerodynamic advantage of doing this, fuel savings of 10% are possible in the longer term along with related reductions in CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the combination of wifi, radar and camera systems in Truck Platooning will boost traffic safety. Another benefit lies in the further improvement of traffic flow given that the ‘platooning’ trucks will not overtake each other. Work is also ongoing to develop technologies to enable cars to perform merging manoeuvres in a responsible and safe way.
TNO develops the technology that makes truck platooning possible. TNO also advises and supports the Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment, RWS and RDW in the organization of the Truck Platooning Challenge. TNO does this on the basis of a broad knowledge base and the requisite experience gained in the five-year Follow Me Truck Platooning programme whose aim is to make road traffic more efficient, economical, cleaner and safer in the future. Apart from technology and safety, this programme also focuses on legislation, logistics and acceptance.
The EcoTwin project is part of the Follow Me Truck Platooning programme.
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