DAF EcoTwin truck platooning
A win-win-win situation
With truck platooning, highly advanced Wifi-P, radar and cameras allow multiple wirelessly connected trucks to drive a short distance apart. Using the driving inputs from the lead truck, the following vehicles will automatically accelerate, brake and steer. Platooning improves the efficiency of road transport, whilst improving road safety.
DAF Trucks has been at the forefront of truck platooning technology since early 2015, when the company launched the truck platooning EcoTwin project together with NXP Semiconductors, TNO (the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) and the leading safety consultancy firm Ricardo.
CO2 reduction, enhanced safety and improved flow of traffic
While platooning, when the lead vehicle brakes the following vehicles automatically brake simultaneously. This enables the gap between truck combinations to be minimised, reducing aerodynamic drag and can save around 10% in fuel and an equivalent 10% CO2 reduction. Another benefit of platooning is the smoothing of traffic flow by reducing the need for trucks to overtake. Smaller distances between trucks frees up road space while no overtaking reduces lane congestion. The advanced driver assistance systems that enable platooning will also contribute to improved road safety. The systems are always alert and the advanced Wifi-P technology allows the braking system to react 25 times quicker than a human driver.
Platooning technically possible
Ron Borsboom, member of DAF Trucks' Board of Management responsible for product development says: “It goes without saying that there is still a lot of technical development ahead of us before platooning can be expected to be in regular use. Validation of a wide range of use cases under various conditions is an important and necessary stage of the development program. And there is still a great deal that has to be sorted out in terms of legislation, liability and public acceptance. Hence, platooning is definitely not a technology that will be on the market before 2022 but we will continue actively to develop its capabilities so we are ready when the technology, customers and legislation are ready.” To support this effort, recently, DAF has started participating in an EU multi-brand platooning project, called Ensemble.
Driver is still required
Truck platooning does not replace the driver, states Borsboom firmly, “Every truck needs a man or woman in the cab, and, on secondary roads or in urban areas, the driver needs to be in control of the truck. Truck platooning is predominantly an efficiency solution for long haul operations on main roads and motorways, but even then drivers will be on-hand and ready to take control if necessary. And they will be needed for other work related activities. Truck platooning is not the beginning of the end of the truck driving profession. It simply relieves the workload of the person behind the wheel, helping drivers cope with demands and creating a safer, more efficient highway system.”
DAF Trucks platooning trial in the UK
DAF Trucks will participate in a two year truck platooning trial in the UK, led by TRL, the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory. Together with its partners, TNO, Ricardo and logistics company DHL, DAF Trucks has been selected by the UK government’s Department for Transport, in conjunction with Highways England to gain experience with truck platooning on selected routes on England’s strategic road network.
PACCAR Innovation Center
In order to achieve even higher levels of automation, DAF collaborates closely with the PACCAR Innovation Center in Silicon Valley, which was opened last year. The Center coordinated next-generation product development and identifies emerging technologies that will benefit future vehicle performance. Technology areas of focus will include advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), artificial intelligence, vehicle connectivity and augmented reality.