In a key meeting on 28 May, the ETPC (European Truck Platooning Challenge) Platform together with the European project ENSEMBLE showed the progresses and vision of Platooning to European Commission’s representatives from INEA, DG RESEARCH and DG MOVE.

ENSEMBLE project coordinator Marika Hoedemaeker, TNO, explained the 2 different levels of platooningthat the project is developing. In a first phase, ENSEMBLE is introducing the” Platoon Support Function”, developing and presenting the multi-brand V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle communications) implementations, still with the driver in the truck and legally responsible. The support function contributes to traffic safety, to traffic flow (specifically in traffic jams and uphill and downhill trajectories) and to augmented driver comfort.

ENSEMBLE is also developing the specifications for the “Platoon Autonomous function” for a second phase, avoiding the need for continuous drivers’ attention in the ‘following’ trucks of the platoon and aiming for shorter gap distances, thereby also contributing to fuel efficiency and emission reduction.

The ETPC’s VISION 2022 was presented by Frank Daems, member of the ETPC Management Board, ERTICO. VISION 2022 publishes the common vision of all involved stakeholders on the conditions under which platooning can be on the roads in 2022. He also presented the research concept of Dynamic Exemptions, as a result of the ENSEMBLE co-operation with the AEROFLEX project.

Dynamic Exemptions is a radical new vision and an innovative exemption concept, on how digitalisation can help the very fast and backwards compatible adaptation and introduction of new ‘automated’ transport technologies, such as platooning and heavy vehicles, on today’s road networks.

Odile Arbeit de Chalendar, from the ETPC Management Board, at the Université Gustave Eiffel representative in Brussels at CLORA, lead the interactive discussion on regulations, policy and the related EC agenda.

The European Commission responded that a general safety regulation has been adopted in 2019/2144 including CCAM, automation, cyber and platooning communication (V2V). One single V2V standard is now adopted throughout ENSEMBLE.

Regulations regarding platooning refer to the common protocol between manufacturers. Based on this, some regulations will be developed, specifically for commercial vehicles. However, at this stage, there is no mandatory date to approve the rules. Platooning will not be mandatory, but it should use the V2V communication. Trucks are not the focus of vehicle regulations.

The audience concluded with a common and hopeful reflection; there is now a favourable momentum to have the member states voice on traffic rules regarding to platooning, and to involve more deeply the logistic community.

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