The main goal of the TNO coordinated ENSEMBLE project is to pave the way for adopting multi-brand truck platooning in Europe. Standardisation is essential for realising multi-brand truck platooning to increase safety and reduce emissions on European roads. The ENSEMBLE platooning public demo event on 23 September 2021 in Barcelona will reveal the project’s contribution to the EU standardisation efforts. 

Standardisation is essential for realising multi-brand truck platooning to increase safety and reduce emissions on European roads. ENSEMBLE builds upon the existing V2X protocol suite, which supports Day-1 applications intended for improved road safety, with the addition of a new application layer protocol supporting the specifics of platooning.

The ETSI’s Technical Committee on Intelligent Transport Systems (TC ITS) has developed an ecosystem of V2X protocols for supporting a plethora of safety applications using a single wireless technology to be operated on the 5.9 GHz frequency band set aside for cooperative ITS in Europe. The so-called Day-1 applications work alongside Day-2 applications such as platooning and collective perception. The former increases the awareness horizon for drivers, whereas the latter increases the automated vehicle’s perception of its surrounding. ETSI TC ITS was tasked through an EC mandate in 2010 to develop ITS protocols to create an interoperable, sustainable V2X system, and the first set of protocols were finalised in 2014. Deployment based on this set of protocols for supporting Day-1 applications was launched in 2019.

It is a continuous process of refining current and fostering new standards for supporting upcoming V2X applications in ETSI TC ITS. There is febrile activity around developing protocols for Day-1 applications such as platooning, cooperative ACC, collective perception and manoeuvre coordination. The outcome of the ENSEMBLE project on platooning is an essential input to develop the platooning protocol in ETSI TC ITS. The platooning protocol will be situated alongside other existing protocols supporting Day-1 applications (cooperative awareness message and decentralised environmental notification message) on the facilities layer, and it will make use of the same lower-layer protocols.

What are the specifics of the platooning protocol?

It is not a broadcast protocol like the majority of the V2X protocols. Instead, only members of the platoon can communicate with each other in a secured and trusted way. The security is rooted in the European trusted domain based on public key infrastructure with the addition of encryption of platooning data to increase security and safety for the trucks. Messages are transmitted with a fixed rate of 20 MHz by all platoon members containing, for example, a high-resolution acceleration signal, which is crucial in an emergency braking situation.

The next step for platooning ENSEMBLE in ETSI standardisation is to finalise a technical report identifying all nitty-gritty details on what needs to be standardised. This forms the basis for the technical standard on platooning containing requirements that need to be fulfilled for creating an interoperable platooning system for the European roads contributing to the ambitious “Fit for 55” package just launched by the European Commission.

At the ENSEMBLE platooning public demo event on 23 September, 2021 in Barcelona, Spain, the project’s contribution to the EU standardisation efforts addressing V2X applications in ETSI TC ITS will be presented.

Further information on the prestigious public demo event in Barcelona can be found here.