‘Hundreds of platooning convoys between Rotterdam and Antwerp’
After successful small scale testing, heavy truck platooning convoys should be possible on a daily base by the hundreds by 2020, from the harbour of Rotterdam (Netherlands) to Antwerp (Belgium) and Venlo (Netherlands). With this initiative the Dutch government and some 20 companies want to make the transport more efficient, faster and cleaner.
Connected by Wi-Fi
Platooning is a technique that enables unmanned trucks, connected by Wi-Fi to follow a leading truck, driven by a chauffeur, mimicking its actions. By driving close to each other, fuel can be saved cutting down emissions. Researchers are convinced it improves traffic flow and safety.
The initial impetus was given last week during a diner organized by the Dutch Ministry of Waterways and Public Works (I&W) and Rotterdam SmartPort, one of the initiators of the project.
Last year some successful initial testing was done with the ‘truck platooning challenge’ with convoys from DAF, MAN, Scania and Volvo starting at different European locations in Belgium, Sweden and Germany towards the Rotterdam harbour.
In April 2017 Europe’s biggest port, Rotterdam has been chosen by the EU to be the proving ground for testing truck platooning further and the idea was launched to have more than 100 convoys a day by 2020. The projects fits in also with the Roadmap Next Economy of the metropolitan region Rotterdam-Den Hague.
Financed by the EU
The project can count on financing by the EU Commission. A decision in this way has to be taken in March or April 2018, says Michiel Jak, director at Rotterdam SmartPort. “There is no written agreement yet for the platooning project, but the intentions are there”. Jak thinks it is feasible within the set time frame.
One of the things to be adapted, is the law on rest- and driving times, because while driving in a platooning convoy, driving times can be longer as three or four drivers can relieve each other in the leading truck, while the rest hasn’t to be that concentrated all the time. Another thing is to invest in Wi-Fi beacons along the route.