Platooning is not the beginning of the end of the truck driving profession, according to Ron Borsboom, DAF’s board member for product development.
“Truck platooning is predominantly an efficiency solution for long haul operations on main roads and motorways, but even then drivers will be specially trained to take control if necessary and deploy other work related activities.
“Truck platooning is not the beginning of the end of the truck driving profession. It relieves the workload of the person behind the wheel. Traffic is getting busier and busier, and more demanding for the driver. Intelligent systems, such as truck platooning, are going to help the driver to cope with those demands,” he said.
DAF has been involved in platooning since early 2015 and says its test drivers have driven tens of thousands of miles on both public roads on the European mainland, and on the test track.
It uses Wifi-P, radar and cameras allow two wirelessly connected trucks to drive at a short distance apart. Using the driving information from the first truck in the platoon, the following vehicles can automatically accelerate, brake and steer. It reckons this can lead to a ten per cent fuel saving.
However, Borsboom warned: “There is still a lot of technical development ahead of us before we might be able to introduce platooning to the market. This trial, however, is an important and necessary step we need to take.”