The world’s first cross-border initiative involving smart trucks is currently underway and many heavy commercial vehicles makers already deployed their autonomous giants on European roads.
Six European truck manufacturers – DAF Trucks, Daimler Trucks, Iveco, MAN Truck & Bus, Scania and Volvo Group announced last month they will take part in the European Truck Platooning Challenge initiated by the Netherlands. The initiative is targeted to make the regulators aware of the importance of automated driving systems in commercial vehicles and to make them speed up the introduction of “heavy” platoons by putting the subject high on the agenda of EU policy makers.
As an example, Daimler Trucks, the only manufacturer of autonomous trucks with official road approval worldwide, sent in the beginning of the week three connected and autonomous Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks from Stuttgart over Heilbronn (A81) on the highways A61 and A67 across the federal states Baden-Wurttemberg, Rheineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia towards Venlo for passing the border to the Netherlands. The scheduled arrival at the port of Rotterdam is on April 6. “We consider platooning as meaningful part of the integrated approach in which all stakeholders in road transport contribute to reduce fuel consumption and CO2,” Daimler said. “Driving in a convoy is one of numerous examples to raise the performance of goods transport extensively with connected trucks.”
Likewise, Scania started with three vehicles from Sodertalje, Sweden on March 29. The route went via the Oresund Bridge to Denmark and then on to Germany and Belgium to the Netherlands. On April 4, MAN also sent a platoon from Munich bound for Rotterdam, the destination point of the rally. “Platooning demonstrates very clearly how much the transportation sector is changing: Tomorrow’s trucks are fully connected. This increases safety and efficiency,” Volkswagen AG stated. Platooning does not require any technological equipment along the route beyond the vehicles’ wifi connection.