This innovative solution involves trucks, connected wirelessly to each other, driving closely together in a convoy. It can potentially help to save up to an average of 10 per cent of a truck’s fuel consumption while platooning. Air resistance becomes less as a result of trucks being able to drive with such a short distance between them. At the moment, fuel saving is measured at testing grounds in ideal operating circumstances, so this 10 per cent figure could be subject to fluctuation.
Platooning also has the possibility to reduce CO2 emissions as a result of trucks consuming less fuel. This will naturally be an advantage for modern businesses with an eye on a sustainable future.
One of Volvo’s core values is safety, which can be further increased as a result of platooning. As the following trucks are constantly receiving information from the trucks in front via connectivity, they can avoid potential hazards that trucks driven in normal circumstances might encounter. Reaction time for braking can be reduced to almost zero, which reduces the risk of traffic congestion or collisions.
Volvo Trucks is constantly developing platooning technology, and the systems involved are being fine-tuned. Future truck platoons are likely to be combined with other features that can also increase customer productivity and transport efficiency.
The European Truck Platooning Challenge in 2016 (see embedded film) gave Members of the European Parliament an insight into automated mobility within road transport. Otherwise, Volvo Trucks’ testing has been carried out in closed areas and on testing grounds. In this way, systems can be safely developed for potential use on highways in the future.
Currently it is common technology standards and varying national legislation that are the obstacles in the way of making platooning an everyday sight on roads. Yet ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association), of which Volvo Trucks is a member, believe that by 2023 it will be possible for platoons to drive across Europe, crossing national borders without needing any specific exemptions.*
As the technology advances at a pace, the road transport industry stands ready to be revolutionised by the results.