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Prime Mover Magazine

Scania takes part in multi-brand platooning project

Commercial vehicle manufacturer, Scania, is among key stakeholders collaborating in a new Swedish research project into truck platooning to explore the full potential of technology that could reduce carbon emissions and streamline goods transport efficiencies.

The three-year project, Sweden4Platooning, will see Scania work with DB Schenker, Volvo, the Royal Institute of Technology, RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden) and the Swedish Transport Administration in multi-brand platoons on public roads.

DB Schenker reportedly has trucks from both truck makers in its daily operations, which constitutes invaluable input to the project as the full potential of platooning can only be realised when trucks from different manufacturers communicate and find each other.

“Platooning has the potential to improve traffic flows on highways and to decrease the environmental impact of transport,” said Scania Head of Pre-Development – Systems Development, Gunnar Tornmalm.

“However, the technology will only reach markets broadly if vehicles from more than one brand can find each other.

“Drag accounts for 25 per cent of a truck’s fuel consumption,” he said.

According to Scania, when trucks can drive closely behind each one another, fuel economy is improved as a result of the reduction in drag. Drag accounts for 25 per cent of a truck’s fuel consumption, and the closer the trucks drive to each other, the greater the fuel saving potential.

“Early tests show that fuel savings potential at a one-second gap driving at 80km/h amounts to 3-7 per cent, depending on where the vehicle is in the platoon,” said Tornmalm.

Using wireless technology, the trucks in a platoon can drive with just a one-second gap between each vehicle. By communicating with each other, the trucks automatically match each other’s speed and braking. This can reduce the reaction time for braking to zero.

“Except for the significantly important possibility to reduce carbon emissions, we want to intercept what platooning could benefit in regard to traffic flows and the utilisation of transport infrastructure,” said DB Schenker Sweden CEO, Mats Grundius.

To operate trucks platoons on public roads, Scania has said that several different aspects need to be synchronised and well-managed. The project will examine the overall requirements and interface for on-board truck systems and cloud communications to allow trucks and fleets to find each other so they can form a platoon. Scalable and reliable wireless communications between vehicles and safety aspects are other vital factors that will be studied.

Sweden4Platooning will run until December 2019.

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