The Department for Transport and Highways England have commissioned the first real-world operational trial of platooning vehicles on UK roads. The £8.1 million trial has been encouraged by the Freight Transport Association, who feel that this innovative solution could cut costs and emissions. Platooning will see a number of heavy goods vehicles technologically connected and controlled by a single driver.
The Government and Highways England have commissioned TRL to lead these trials with the support of a consortium of other partners. TRL is the global centre for innovation in transport and mobility. The other partners involved in this Platooning Trial includes DAF Trucks which is the UK market leader in the sales of Heavy Goods Vehicles.
TRL and Ricardo worked to complete and deliver the HGV Platooning feasibility study for the Department for Transport in 2014. This Technology partner will also be involved in the feasibility study. Another big name partner working with TRL on this £8.1 million trial is DHL, the leading logistics provider in the UK.
Platooning projects have taken place in Europe and the USA, and the experience of these will help with the new British trials. The investigation will include the analysis on heavy vehicle platooning in real-world operating conditions in order to see if the project is viable and safe.
On road trials are expected to take place with DHL and their regular logistical operations in 2018. Before this the Platooning technology and concept will undergo a number of thorough test and driving simulations. The drivers involved in this trial will be required to undergo extensive training.
If this solution is shown to be viable, Platooning could cut down on congestion, CO2 emissions from vehicles and fuel costs. The development of this technology is a wider part of TRL delivering innovation to the transport and mobility sector, preparing it for the future.