5G collaboration could bring tighter platooning

| Transport

Air drag reduction through platooning

Scania and Ericcson are working together on research into the use of 5G for V2x communications to enable tighter formations of vehicle platoons.

The Mobile World Congress event has witnessed the signing of research agreements between communication specialist, Ericsson and vehicle manufacturer, Scania on connectivity between commercial vehicles and infrastructure objects.

Advanced communications technology and the future deployment of 5G networks are seen by the two companies as being necessary for enabling improvements in the transport of both passengers and freight.

Commenting on the prospects now being clearer for achieving such communications through mobile networks, Håkan Schildt, Director of Strategy and Business Development at Scania said, “We’ve been speaking about introducing vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications (V2x) for quite some time but now it’s really taking off.”

Such dedicated V2x communications have been made possible through new developments in LTE and 5G standards, which minimis the risks of unpredictability and latency. For safety critical vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to be effective, they need to have extremely low latency compared to existing technology.

Ultra-fast V2V and V2I communications are essential in the concept of goods vehicle platooning, something which Scania has pioneered with truck and trailer combinations driving in close formation and thereby reducing air drag and fuel consumption. Legislation at present permits trucks to drive at a safe distance from each other using common in-vehicle features such as radar and cruise control. However, an even narrower distance between trucks and further reducing fuel consumption requires vehicle-to-vehicle communications and interconnected control systems. Research by Ericsson and Scania has now shown that sufficiently reliable communications can be established using 4G and future 5G networks.

In a wider perspective, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications is an enabler for system-wide platooning in planning and organizing the formation and dissolution of platoons according to route and schedule. Trucks can thus join and leave platoons in an optimal manner.

“In view of the enormous benefits, we’re convinced that vehicle-to-vehicle communications will be implemented by transport operators of all types,” says Claes Herlitz, Head of Automotive at Ericsson. “Addressing the challenges posed by growing passenger and freight volumes, enhanced communications can contribute to greater logistics efficiency and thereby reduced environmental impact.”

Watch the video by Scania on vehicle platooning below:

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