Multi-brand platooning to be available in Europe

Mar 27 | 2018

The partners of the ENSEMBLE consortium, including all six European commercial truck manufacturers and led by TNO, have announced their commitment to implement and demonstrate multi-brand truck platooning.

The ENSEMBLE consortium will implement and demonstrate multi-brand truck platooning on European roads over the next three years. This paves the way for the adoption of multi-brand truck platooning in Europe that will improve fuel economy, CO2 emissions, traffic capacity and throughput for the road freight sector.

The main aim of the ENSEMBLE project is to ensure safe platooning when using different branded trucks and carry out impact assessment for infrastructure, road safety and traffic flow. Traffic and road authorities will be approached to jointly define road approval requirements. Platoon Operation Levels will be defined to guide the design of different platooning functionalities and strategies, reflecting the full diversity of trucks with platooning functionality.

Through real-world testing across national borders the impact on traffic, infrastructure and logistics will be assessed, whilst gathering relevant data of safety-relevant scenarios and necessitating harmonisation of approval requirements.

With the possibility of multi-brand platooning available for trucks driving on European roads, a single truck can form a platoon with any other truck. This could result in fuel savings for a large group of vehicles on today’s roads. Moreover, it will influence traffic flow, especially on highly congested corridors. Platoons will appear in normal traffic, causing smoother traffic and higher vehicle density and thus improving road throughput. Thanks to automated dynamic control between the trucks, truck operations are safer and less stressful. At highway entries, exits and junctions, platoons will automatically increase vehicle gaps to give way to other road users.

The project will start half way through 2018 and will last three years. The first year will concentrate on bundling the requirements and development of a reference design with acceptance criteria. This reference design will be taken up by the OEMs and suppliers for implementation on their own trucks during the second year, while the knowledge partners will perform impact assessments with several criteria. Year three of the project will focus on testing the multi-brand platoons on test tracks and international public roads. The technical results will be evaluated toward the initial requirements. Also, the impact on fuel consumption, drivers and other road users will be established.

The final ENSEMBLE multi-brand truck platooning demonstration is planned on public roads in 2021.

Photo: The main aim of the ENSEMBLE project is to ensure safe platooning when using different branded trucks.