Six convoys of driverless trucks just travelled across five countries for the European Truck Platooning Challenge

Six manufacturers drive mostly autonomous convoys of trucks across five European countries as a technical exercise

Six manufacturers of trucks from five countries in Europe just participated in the European Truck Platooning Challenge. Truck platooning involves hooking up a fleet of trucks over Wi-Fi and having autonomous vehicle technology driving the vehicles less than a second apart. Platooning increases fuel efficiency, reduces occupation of road space, and reduces emissions. The platooning also reduces the risk of accidents. The fleets were driverless in regular traffic conditions. Each manufacturer platooned only with their own trucks, as the Wi-Fi co-ordination systems set up on the trucks vary by manufacturer.

All the trucks departed from their location of production or home base of the company, and traveled across Europe to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Volvo started from Gothenburg in Sweden. Daimler started from Stuttgart, and MAN from Munich, both in Germany. IVECO left from Brussels, the capital of Belgium. DAF departed from Westerlo in Belgium. Scania had the longest route to take, driving 2000 kilometers from Södertalje in Sweden. The trucks traveled across Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and finally stopped at Netherlands.

The platooning challenge was organised by Netherlands, with co-operation of the officials in all five countries. The next step is to start using truck platoons for real life operations. The first of these is going to be a fleet of trucks delivering Unilver products across Europe from the port of Rotterdam, according to a report by Quartz.

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