The European truck platooning community is back with the first ETPC (European Truck Platooning Challenge) virtual meeting of the year to set the pace for future technology developments and plans for this exciting 2021. In the spotlight the European project ENSEMBLE, coordinated by TNO, which is in its last year of operations and whose results will be showcased at its grand final event in fall this year. ENSEMBLE is the first project that will demonstrate multi-brand truck platooning on European roads. Thanks to the cooperation of the seven largest OEMs in Europe, ENSEMBLE consortium of 22 companies and organisations is testing platooning on closed testing grounds and in real life to assess the impact on traffic and infrastructure and to promote multi-brand platooning in real traffic conditions across national borders. The focus of the project is to implement safe platooning by creating a safe interaction both within the platoon and with other road users using secure wireless communication.
Participants in this meeting had also the unique opportunity to hear from platooning development in the different regions of the globe, with Ben Kraaijenhagen (BeCat Ben Consultancy in automotive and transport) presenting the AEROFLEX project (Aerodynamic and Flexible Trucks for Next Generation of Long Distance Road Transport). AEREOFLEX is developing and demonstrating new technologies for complete vehicles with optimised aerodynamics, powertrains and safety systems as well as flexible and adaptable loading units with advanced interconnectedness contributing to the vision of a “physical internet”.
Prof. Yanjun Shi, Dalian University of Technology (DUT), presented the work carried out by the European project 5G-MOBIX in its Chinese urban trial site located in Shandong Academy of Sciences about 400 kilometres south of the national capital of Beijing. The Jinan trial site is well equipped and ready for advanced test and evaluation of 5G technologies applied also to truck platooning.
Richard Bishop from Bishop Consulting, gave an overview on the current state of truck automation and platooning in the USA as a follow up of his participation in the ERTICO Academy webinar on truck platooning. Jakob Muus, founder and CEO at Tracks, a Berlin-based start-up pioneering the road freight industry, presented the company active role in the transformation towards greater efficiency and ecological sustainability.
There was a great interest in the topics covered and technology advancements presented with an interactive discussion of the over 50 participants representing OEMs, public authorities, consultancies and industry.
The next ETPC meeting will be held in May 2021.