Cross-Border Truck Convoy Ready to Roll

The challenge is also backed by ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, with hopes to accelerate the development of convoy-driving corridors in Europe and pave the way for EU legislative changes.

Three extra-long trucks are set to leave March 29 from Scania in Södertälje, Sweden, to drive in a close convoy to Rotterdam, the Netherlands as part of an initiative headed by the Netherlands, which currently holds the EU presidency, intended to fast-track the development of truck convoys. Convoys could increase safety while reducing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions in long-haul road operations, and Scania is one of several stakeholders taking part in the European Truck Platooning Challenge. Taking place March 29 through April 6, it is the world's first cross-border initiative of this type, according to the company.

The challenge is also backed by ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, with hopes to accelerate the development of convoy-driving corridors in Europe and pave the way for EU legislative changes.

"The European Truck Platooning Challenge is an excellent opportunity for us to increase awareness in both Sweden and Europe of the major advantages provided by vehicle convoys in achieving safer and more efficient transport operations and in improving traffic flows," said Jonas Hofstedt, who heads Powertrain Development at Scania. "We also hope to increase understanding of the fact that common standards are required for the different support systems and that joint European legislation is required in order to enable large-scale convoy driving."

Scania has developed truck combinations that can drive with only a short distance between them, a practice called platooning. The first vehicle in the convoy acts as the leader, and the others follow and adapt to it. Scania has used platooning in its own transport operations and demonstrated that by reducing drag, it is possible to achieve fuel savings up to 10 percent in real traffic conditions.

The company reports many trucks now are equipped with radar and camera-based systems that enable vehicles to maintain shorts distances between them and the vehicles ahead -- with enhanced communications, vehicles can safely travel as little as 10 meters apart. For the leg between Södertälje and Malmö in Sweden, the Scania truck and trailer combinations will be driven with an extra trailer, making their total length 32 meters.

"Longer vehicle combinations are something that we're already testing on some stretches of road and with which we are achieving good results," Hofstedt said. "Adding an extra trailer increases the amount of goods in every transport movement, reducing per tonne-kilometer costs by 40 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by more than one-quarter."

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