A three Scania HGV convoy will take part in the first cross border platoon in close formation from Sweden to Rotterdam at the end of March.
The Netherlands led European Truck Platooning Challenge will take place between 29th March and 6th April 2016 and will involve three Scania long articulated vehicles driving in close formation between the Swedish town of Södertälje and the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The aim of the project is to provide impetus to the development of platooning in an international setting and improve road safety as well as reduce emissions and fuel consumption.
Scania is joining the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and other stakeholders in the challenge and is continuing to invest substantial research resources into accelerating the introduction of connected heavy-vehicles and related infrastructure.
Commenting on Scania’s involvement in the challenge, the company’s head of powertrain development, Jonas Hofstedt said, “The European Truck Platooning Challenge is an excellent opportunity for us to increase awareness in both Sweden and Europe of the major advantages provided by vehicle convoys in achieving safer and more efficient transport operations and in improving traffic flows. We also hope to increase understanding of the fact that common standards are required for the different support systems and that joint European legislation is required in order to enable large-scale convoy driving.”
Scania has a long history of truck platooning development with the first vehicle in the convoy acts as the leader which the others follow and adapt to. Over the years, Scania has used platooning in its own transport operations, demonstrating that by reducing drag it is possible to achieve fuel savings of up to 10 percent in real traffic conditions.
The vehicles used in such convoys have radar and camera-based systems that enable vehicles to maintain short distances between themselves and preceding vehicles. The distances between the vehicles can be as little as 10 metres and this is possible through the use of advanced communications technology in which the vehicles are digitally connected to each other with software regulating the distance between the vehicles and simultaneously applying the brakes when necessary.
The drivers in the convoys are always responsible for their vehicles’ support systems and can at any time leave the convoy or increase the distance to the vehicle in front if necessary, for example to help other drivers exit the motorway.
Part of the journey will be undertaken with longer trailer combinations with a total vehicle length of 32 metres. This will happen in Sweden between Södertälje and Malmö to prove the concept of longer convoys, as explained by Hofstedt, “Longer vehicle combinations are something that we’re already testing on some stretches of road and with which we are achieving good results. Adding an extra trailer increases the amount of goods in every transport movement, reducing per tonne-kilometre costs by 40% and carbon dioxide emissions by more than a quarter.”