Send in the platoon

Truck platoons from all over Europe may be heading to the Netherlands in a major initiative to promote the new technology. Autonomous driving is certainly a hot topic this year. The recent announcements in the US from Freightliner and Peterbilt followed a number of demonstration events with autonomous or platooning trucks from several European truck manufacturers.





Now, a Dutch initiative is trying to stage a mass demonstration of the latest technology available, with platoons of truck converging on Rotterdam in April 2016 during the Netherlands’ presidency of the European Union.



The European Platooning Truck Challenge is set for April 14 2016. The idea is on this day several platoons of self driving trucks drive to the Dutch city from different directions, according to the current plan, from Sweden, Poland, Germany, Austria, France and the UK.



The purpose of the exercise is to examine cross border issues around platooning trucks. Each individual country is, currently, developing its own deployment rules and procedures. The greatest benefits for the environment, traffic safety and logistics efficiency will be possible with the increasing scale of operating, across Europe.



Harmonisation of the rules will be needed early on to ensure effective take up of the new technology. It is more efficient to start in an early stage with exchanging experiences, knowledge and practices. In countries like the US and Australia, the situation will be the same with the federal states.



To organise a one off event like this is a challenge in itself. The Netherlands is working to win over truck manufacturers and member states to participate in the initiative in nine months time. Countless issues are going to be raised like insurance, privacy, security, traffic management, traffic safety and infrastructure.