Truck Platooning comprises a number of trucks closely following the other in an automated convoy. The vehicles are equipped with hi-tech driving systems and this forms a platoon with the trucks communicating electronically with each other.
The trucks drive close together at a constant speed, meaning lower fuel consumption and less CO2 emissions and with less space taken up on the road. When the lead truck brakes the following trucks in the platoon also brake immediately reducing reaction time and improving traffic safety. Platooning also saves fuel cost as the trucks drive close together at a constant speed.
The UK government announced in August a fund of £8.1 million to fund a platooning trial with tests set for public roads in 2018. Richard Cuerden of The UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) said:
“We’re going to build a system that’s robust enough to work in the real world, and when we get to the end of our project, we’ll have run a trial with a real operator, real goods and on real UK roads.” On the issues of communication he said “They’re always able to talk with one another because trucks two and three can react so much quicker than you and I can so we can get them so much closer together”.
The vehicles are being built by engineering firm Ricardo and initial tests will be on a test track in platooning mode, simulating the vehicles moving together and then tests on real roads including a motorway or other major road.
What do you think of truck platooning? Is it the bright new future of haulage with less congestion and reduced CO2 emissions or is it more expense and taking control of the vehicle away from experienced lorry drivers?