Platooning Manufacturers promote amendments

Scania Platooning Foto: Scania, Peggy Bergman

Platooning could be put into practice on European roads. This is one of the results of the VDA workshop for the upcoming IAA Commercial Vehicles.

Only a few weeks ago, six vehicle manufacturers took a media-effective platoon-rally from their manufacturing plants to Rotterdam. Following this are the next steps to making platooning possible on a regular basis. “First, we need an amendment to allow a minimum space of 10 meters“, said Andreas Rentschler, VW Truck and Coachmanager on Thursday at the VDA workshop (Association of the German Automotive Industry) for the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Frankfurt. He stated that the general rule is 50 meters. “On the other hand we have to clarify whether the driver needs to have his hands at the steering wheel at all times, or whether he can pursue other tasks while driving”, the VW board member explained.

Regardless of the necessary legislative decisions, pricing models for logistic service providers are required. They must regulate who profits from the realized fuel savings, and to what extent. “Because the first truck doesn’t save 10%”, said Rentschler.
But the vehicle manufacturers also have work to do. They sent platoons of the same fleets on the trip. Practice shows, however, that mixed fleets are the rule. And it is exactly this cooperation of different brands that must be enabled. “We need general communication standards“, emphasizes Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Daimler board executive committee. Several different task forces are currently devoted to solving this issue. This technology will find its buyers once it is ready for the market.

Ralf Eschemann, Vice President of UPS Europe, would be interested in the use of platooning for his fleet. “We are open and flexible regarding platooning”, he said. It is also important to not only combine different vehicle brands but also customers, in order to realize long distance freight transports in platoons.

Clarify Platooning Vehicle Standards

Eschemann expects another issue to be resolved prior to the introduction of platooning: the technical standards of the platooning vehicles, for example in regard to motorization.  “One thing is clear: the slowest vehicle determines the speed.”

Platooning is only one of many tools on the road to more efficiency. As speakers emphasize during the workshop, there are many possibilities for improvement, which will be demonstrated at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 22 – 29 September, in Hannover. “We will demonstrate how road transport and logistics will be further developed in a new era of mobility”, announced Matthias Wissmann, VDA President.

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