The Ensemble consortium, which includes Europe’s big six truck manufacturers, says that multi-brand truck platooning will be trialled on European roads over the next three years.
The trials, says the consortium, will pave the way for the adoption of multi-brand truck platooning which will improve fuel economy, CO2 emissions and traffic capacity for the road freight sector.
The main aim of the Ensemble project is to ensure safe platooning when using different branded trucks and carry out impact assessment for infrastructure, road safety and traffic flow.
Traffic and road authorities will be approached to jointly define road approval requirements. Platoon operation levels will also be defined to guide the design of different platooning functionalities and strategies, reflecting the full diversity of trucks with platooning functionality.
Through real-world testing across national borders, the impact on traffic, infrastructure and logistics will be assessed.
Thanks to automated dynamic control between the trucks, the consortium says that truck operations will be safer and less stressful. And, at highway entries, exits and junctions, platoons will automatically increase vehicle gaps to give way to other road users.
The project will start half way through 2018 and will last three years. The first year will concentrate on bundling the requirements and development of a reference design with acceptance criteria. This reference design will be taken up by the OEMs and suppliers for implementation on their own trucks during the second year, while the knowledge partners will perform impact assessments with several criteria.
Year three of the project will focus on testing the multi-brand platoons on test tracks and international public roads. The technical results will be evaluated toward the initial requirements. Also, the impact on fuel consumption, drivers and other road users will be established.
The final Ensemble multi-brand truck platooning demonstration is planned on public roads in 2021.
The Ensemble project is led by TNO and includes all of the big six European truck manufacturers: DAF, Daimler, Iveco, MAN, Scania and the Volvo Group. CLEPA represents the equipment and components’ suppliers and will supporting research, innovation and deployment as drivers for industrial growth.