For years, employers have had trouble finding truck drivers but are they going to even need them in the years to come?
On April 6, 2016, a convoy of trucks was set off from three different bases. What was so special about theses trucks? They had no human drivers and drove completely on the concept of autonomous driving. For logistics specialists and fleet owners, the idea of automated vehicles is an exciting future. The technology may be closer than we think and it's called truck platooning.
The Concept of Truck Platooning
Platooning is where trucks drive cooperatively at less than 1 second apart. It is possible by automated driving technology. The airflow between the two trucks actually helps to push both trucks forward through the road and reduces fuel consumption. This is like the way that race cars draft to get a speed burst and get around each other on a track.
In studies conducted with Peloton Tech in conjunction with CR England, platooning with saving companies an average of 7% fuel. This is an average of 4.5% for the lead truck and 10% for the rear truck, due to improved aerodynamics and reduced drag. These tests occurred as a result of 1400 miles of testing.
The EU Truck Platooning Challenge
Initiated by the Netherlands, the European Truck Platooning Challenge is where various brands of automated trucks will drive in columns (platooning) on public roads from various European cities to the Netherlands. IT provides an opportunity for the trucking industry to test implementation of truck platooning in various EU states. Transport authorities, truck manufacturers, business owners, academics and scientists are all involved.
The goal is to centralize all the partners in efforts to get this technology implemented.
Dirk-Jan de Bruijn, program director of truck platooning challenges, says:
"We now have huge energy in the network and the concept is that we will want to real-life cases. Companies like Unilever are preparing to start these cases in 2017. The challenge is of course not an endpoint, but a starting point, it's a new kick-off."
The Future of Truck Platooning
Of course, there are many challenges still needing to overcome before this technology can be widespread. Once policy and law are able to meet with today's newest technology we'll see a massive shift. Resulting in lowered shipping costs, safer roads and massive savings across the board.
The Dutch legislation has already amended to allow testing this concept of autonomous vehicles on public and they want truck platooning implemented across the Europe.
Truck platooning is going to revolutionize the transportation for everyone and the European truck industry is taking the steps necessary to implement it.