12 Oct 2018
Scania makes transport smarter and safer
We at the ASAP team want to know what our partners are working on, and how it accelerates sustainability from more than one perspective. That’s why we wanted to know what “autonomous platooning” really is, and why Scania wants to make it reality. Today, it’s not done commercially but the technique will hopefully be the natural way to drive in the near future. The text is written by us, enjoy!
Platooning. Ever heard about it? Or even seen it being tested? If not, imagine that it’s like a lot of trucks driving really, really close to each other on a highway and there is a rapid development in the area! With platooning, it will be possible to reduce emissions, make the roads safer, and improve work conditions for drivers.
Why is platooning good?
With autonomous platooning, the vehicles can be connected to each other via a cloud service, which often referred to as connectivity. One trucks behaviour can then affect the others. If the first truck brakes, the following ones brake simultaneously (automatically, no reaction from the driver is needed!). That reduces the fuel consumption, and it’s safer! Usually, trucks can’t drive very close to each other due to safety issues. When trucks drive closer to each other, the roads are more effectively used. On some roads, space is a big issue and traffic jams a daily problem. If trucks can drive closer to each other, space is saved and it improves the traffic flow.
When will this be implemented?
In March 2018, Scania announced a partnership agreement with Finnish company Ahola Transport regarding semi-autonomous platooning on public roads, its the first customer agreement in Europe of its kind. The plan is to test semi-autonomous trucks on public roads, with drivers in all trucks. The driver in the first truck will control the entire platoon and the following trucks are driven autonomously. Watch the short video below to see how it works!
Scania is also part of an initiative with all European truck manufacturers to implement and demonstrate multi-brand truck platooning. The initiative is lead by the Dutch organisation for applied scientific research, TNI. When multi-brand platooning in Europe becomes possible, a single truck can form a platoon with any other truck to achieve fuel savings. Apart from reduced fuel consumption due to reduced air-flow, improved traffic flow and road safety, semi-automated platooning will also benefit the driver. It can improve the working conditions for the drivers in the semi-automated trucks and it can open up opportunities for truck drivers to take on more skilled roles as fleet operators (driving the first truck). So, there are a lot of advantages with semi-automated platooning and the development is going fast - hopefully we’ll see it happening in reality in just a few years.