1. What does ENSEMBLE mean?

ENSEMBLE is the project name. It is an acronym derived from ‘ENabling SafE Multi-Brand pLatooning for Europe’. It is a French word for ‘being together’. It resembles the joint action of the European truck manufacturers, suppliers and research institutes to develop a platooning system

2. What is the project’s duration?

Originally the duration was set to three years, starting June 2018 and ending 31/5/2021. Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic had a lot of influence on the practical arrangements of testing of the technical implementation in the trucks and prevented the involved truck manufacturers to work on the implementation and to join for the executing the test plan. Therefore, the project was twice extended in timing. The final date is now 31 March 2022.

3. Is ENSEMBLE an EU funded project?

Yes, it is. This project is co-funded by the EU under the Horizon2020 (H2020) Research and Innovation Programme (grant agreement No 769115). The project received 20 Mio Euro funding.

4. What does platooning mean?

What is the difference between a platoon and a convoy? Truck platooning is the linking of two or more trucks in convoy, using connectivity technology and automated driving support systems. The difference with a normal convoy is that within a convoy there is no driving support system available to support the drivers of the trucks.

5. Which technologies are implemented in ENSEMBLE?

ENSEMBLE has developed a dedicated V2V communication protocol, especially tuned to platooning use cases such as joining and leaving a platoon and how to handle cut in and cut out of other vehicles in the platoon.

6. What is the ETPC – European Truck Platooning Challenge?

ETPC (European Truck Platoon Challenge) stands for the name of the event organised in 2016 where companies showed the technical feasibility of platooning. This feasibility showed that OEMs had the knowledge to create a platoon of trucks, but these platoons were only formed by trucks from the same brand. Given this technical feasibility the ENSEMBLE project was created to ensure that the OEMs could work on a joined technical concept that would enable multi-brand-cross boarder and ad hoc platooning on the road.

A recent and important achievement of the ETPC is the VISION 2022. Specifications that explain under which conditions platooning could hit the market in 2022. The ETPC has major contributions in the ENSEMBLE project such as the creation of the LOI (Letter of Intent) and the MU (Memo of Understanding) that will be signed at the ENSEMBLE final event in March 2022.

7. What is the difference between platooning as a support function and platooning as an autonomous function?

The main difference between these two types of platooning is that in the support function the driver is always responsible for safe driving on the roads. This means that the driver should be able to overrule the system and decide where and when to activate or de-activate the system. This again means that a human reaction time of around 1,5 seconds should still lead to a safe situation. Therefore, in the platooning support function the following distance THW- time headway- is not shorter than 1,5 seconds.

In the autonomous function, the driver is not anymore responsible for safe driving but the system kicks in. The driver can be out of the loop, meaning that it is not necessary, nor possible anymore for him/her to react. Only then the THW can be reduced to distances below 1,5 seconds.

Please see below for a quick overview of the differences.

8. What are the foreseen benefits of implementing truck platooning in real traffic?

For Platooning as a support function:

  1. Improvement of traffic safety
    • Safer distance control compared to current driving conditions
    • Faster reaction to potentially dangerous braking situations because of V2V
    • Possibilities of coordinated braking manoeuvres
  2. Improvement of traffic flow
    • More stable string of following trucks, even more improved when combined with strategic traffic controller
    • Standard communication protocol between all trucks on the road to improve awareness for other cooperative vehicles.
  3. V2X validated specifications
    • Definition of platooning technology for standardization across Europe as a necessary step towards autonomous platooning

For Platooning as an autonomous function:

  • All of the above
  • Positive effect on fuel consumption due to potential decreased headways
  • Improvement in driver productivity and possible solution for current driver shortage problem

9. What has been achieved until now?

  • Established requirements and specifications of multi-brand platooning that are aligned by all European truck manufacturers.
  • Actual implementation of the V2V platooning as a support function in all EU brands of trucks
  • Many hours of testing on test tracks (mono-brand, duo-brand, triple-brand, quadruple-brand and seven-brand) and updating of the platooning protocol
  • Real world platooning with all EU truck brands
  • Input to standardisation of platooning
  • Specifications of platooning as an autonomous function
  • Numerous deliverables, articles and presence at different international conference
  • Active relationship with other EU projects like CONCORDA and HEADSTART

In the next and last months of the project various insights on the platooning impacts, on road infrastructure like bridges, pavements, tunnels, traffic flow, other road users, emissions will be achieved.

10. Where do I find presentations, pictures and videos?

You can find presentations, deliverables and publications in the “Library” section of the ENSEMBLE website: platooningensemble.eu/library

Pictures of events are available in the “Gallery” section of the website: platooningensemble.eu/gallery

Videos are visible on ERTICO YouTube profile, in the specific playlist dedicated to ENSEMBLE project: youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4LSYXNwsQOkskHhWjjvzU9nshHD34jyq

11. Do I find ENSEMBLE on social media?

Yes, you do. ENSEMBLE project is active on Twitter with a dedicated hashtag #platooningENSEMBLE and on LinkedIn via the group page “Platooning ENSEMBLE Community

12. Are there future events planned?

Yes, the ETPC meeting will occur on February 23rd, 2022 and the final event of the ENSEMBLE project is organised on March 17th, 2022.

13. I’m interested in the project, who I can contact to learn more about it?

Dr. D.M. (Marika) Hoedemaeker:
Email: marika.hoedemaeker@tno.nl
Telephone: +31 (0)88 866 58 53
TNO: Automotive Campus 30, 5708 JZ Helmond, The Netherlands
Post address: PO Box 756, 5700 AT Helmond, The Netherlands