FutureStructure

European Self-Driving Truck Convoy a Smashing Success

The Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment is very excited over the new technology that could create safer and more efficient highways.

by Annette Birschel, dpa, Hamburg, Germany / April 7, 2016
For the most part, the trucks drove autonomously across Western Europe. Twitter/Melanie Shultz

(TNS) -- Six convoys of partially self-driving trucks reached their destination in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, after a test drive lasting several days, using a technology that could make transport cleaner and safer.

"The results of this first ever major try-out in Europe are promising," said Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment Melanie Schultz van Haegen in a press release.

"Truck platooning ensures that transport is cleaner and more efficient. Self-driving vehicles also improve traffic safety because most traffic accidents are due to human error," Schultz van Haegen said, whose ministry initiated the convoy challenge.

Platooning refers to a technology that connects the trucks into rows using wireless internet connections, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and radar, which allows the first truck to determine the speed and route. The other trucks follow with a close gap, eliminating sudden stops, which can reduce fuel consumption by up to ten per cent and lower exhaust emissions.

The trucks came from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and The Netherlands.

Truck producers MAN, Scania, DAF, Iveco, Volvo and Daimler were involved in the challenge.

The companies said that it would be possible from a technical standpoint to introduce the technology to European roads by 2020, but European laws need to be harmonized first.

©2016 Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.