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European Truck Platooning Challenge proves successful

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Columns of electronically connected lorries from six manufacturers arrived in Rotterdam yesterday, marking the successful completion of the European Truck Platooning Challenge.

Platoons from DAF Trucks, Daimler Trucks, Iveco, MAN Truck & Bus, Scania and Volvo Group drove across national borders in ‘trains’ from Sweden, Germany and Belgium. The challenge started on 29 March.

Truck platooning allows two or three lorries connected by wi-fi to drive in a column, with the first truck determining the speed and route. This enables shorter gaps between following trucks, while freeing space for other vehicles .

The wi-fi connection between the trucks ensures synchronised braking and can prevent sudden jolt/shock effects. Platooning is aimed at improving traffic flows, speeding up deliveries and providing fuel savings as well as reducing CO2 emissions.

During the challenge the trucks were closely monitored and filmed from the air. This will help identify how other traffic responds to the platoons.

Dutch Infrastructure and Environment Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen welcomed the six columns of trucks to Rotterdam and 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. As the test shows, the technology has come a long way already.”

She added: “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.”

European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association secretary general Erik Jonnaert added: “Cooperation within the EU is crucial in preventing the development of a patchwork of local rules and procedures, strangling progress.”