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Hands-free cars and trucks - next generation mobility

Grouping vehicles into platoons is a method of increasing the roads capacity and decreasing transportation costs. By eliminating the need of human reaction distance Platoons decrease the distances between cars or trucks using electronic, and possibly mechanical, coupling. This capability would allow many vehicles or trucks to accelerate or brake simultaneously.The semi vehicles and trucks stay together using sonar, GPS and wi-fi connection. This provides capabilities of these vehicles and trucks for almost instantaneous decision making. Truck platooning is innovative and full of promise and potential for the transport and logistics sector.

Platooning can improve traffic safety with zero reaction time and braking immediately.

Platooning is also a cost-saver as the trucks drive close together at a constant speed. This means less CO2 emissions and lower fuel consumption. Platooning also efficiently boosts traffic flows thereby reducing tail-backs.

At the same time the impact of truck platooning goes far beyond the transport sector. Automated driving and smart mobility also offer realistic chances to optimise the labour market, logistics and industry.

Lots of R&D Managers and engineers have been involved in the development and implementation of  a solution for reducing the risk of human error. One of the main driving reasons for this is a report according to which around 90 % of all car accidents are caused by a human error.

The technology is now so advanced that in 2016 helds “European Truck Platooning Challenge 2016” whereby various brands of automated trucks will drive in columns (platooning) on public roads from various European cities to the Netherlands. The convoy of self-driving trucks will be led by a truck with a driver. All the following trucks are completely autonomous so that they will even avoid obstacles on their own. The distances that the trucks have to pass vary, but one of the longest routes is approximately 2,000 km and  crosses Sweden, Denmark and Germany.

This example of the technology rapid development appears to indicate that Governments should follow technology progress in key sectors for their countries in order to be able to apply them. Otherwise people will not be able to make the maximum of the new technologies. This will lead to a slowdown in the development of new technologies. Using the current example - well developed countries should consider only legal changes. On the other hand less developed countries unless legal changes would have to develop its infrastructure in order to allow self-moving vehicles and trucks to move along their paths.