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MAN Truck & Bus has joined the ‘European Truck Platooning Challenge 2016’, organised by the Dutch government, to explore road safety potential and increase the efficiency of road freight transport
In specific terms, the project intends to reduce CO2 emissions by employing ‘slipstream driving’, whilst simultaneously improving traffic safety on motorways by lightening the burden on drivers.
MAN Truck & Bus participated in this research project by providing test vehicles. The MAN convoy, or ‘platoon’, consisting of two MAN TGX 18.480 semitrailer tractors, set off from Munich on 4 April 2016 heading for Rotterdam, which hosted a demonstration of technology from all participating manufacturers today ahead of the meeting of EU transport ministers.
According to Franz Freiherr von Redwitz, managing director of MAN Truck & Bus Middle East, “As an industry leader, we are committed to exploring new technologies and initiatives that can improve the overall performance of the vehicle, while also reducing emissions. Transporting goods on highways could soon become even more efficient and safe thanks to digitally connected semitrailer tractors through platooning. This also signals the changes that will come into place in the transportation industry in the future due to the impact of such digital innovations.”
Platooning involves two or more truck and trailer combinations travelling in close proximity with the aid of technical driver assistance and control systems and car-to-car communication, whilst simultaneously enhancing road safety.
Due to the electronic ‘tow bar’, the longitudinal and lateral control of the vehicle to the rear is automated; in other words it follows the HGV in front. Here, the distance between each semitrailer combination is under 15 metres or around half a second of driving time. ‘Slipstream driving’ set up in this way enables fuel savings, depending on vehicle type and the length of the convoy, of up to ten percent for the whole platoon, bringing with it a reduction in CO2 emissions. The desired effects are best achieved at a speed of 80 km/h.
Experts also expect platooning to improve traffic flow on motorways, meaning improved traffic safety and a more efficient traffic system. Around 90 per cent of all traffic accidents are attributable to human error, with longitudinal traffic accidents such as rear-impact crashes in freight transport making up the majority share of these, at almost 70 per cent.