By the Way, You're Late for the Future | Semi Truck Repair
Did we mention the future is here?
Because it is.
As a matter of fact, it arrived a few years back and us “regular” people are just a little slow on the uptake.
Technology and trucking, whether our drivers are on board or not, is the way the industry is headed. Though the conversion of the American truck market is still a distance in the future, global truck makers are already pushing ahead to active implementation via the European Truck Platooning Challenge.
We’ve talked about both technologies employed in this challenge before. You might remember our excited post in March of last year on Peloton technologies for truck platooning; and then the Freightliner follow up with its larger than life release of the first licensed, autonomous truck on the side of the Hoover Dam in May – both cool milestones in the development of the integration of technology in trucks.
This week though, the global race continues its forward march with both Daimler and Volvo launching platoons comprised of three extra long trucks and trailers to start their trek towards the Port of Rotterdam, Germany, with an ETA set at April 6th. Each manufacturer starts at their home base and crosses via major corridors to reach Rotterdam. Daimler, who launched their platoon Monday, only has to trek through the south of Germany. Volvo, who launched yesterday, passes through Sweden, Denmark, and then Germany. Scania, set to depart on the 29th of March, has the longest route to travel, passing through 4 borders on its journey. Three other manufacturers, MAN, IVECO, and DAF Trucks, are also participating in the challenge, weaving their way on thoroughfares “only in normal traffic conditions.” The EU Challenge website distinctly mentions that “local conditions will dictate whether or not they platoon for the whole route,” which obviously mimics real day to day conditions that fleets employing this technology would see and need to adapt to.
The launch and successful completion of this challenge is exciting for many reasons. Granted the challenge and forward push isn’t taking place on our home soil. That being said though, the distance of travel for these routes demonstrates what many OTR fleets will experience both here in the North American continent and abroad.
Additionally and more importantly, the five countries that are involved in this challenge have had to have clear and close communication between their respective transportation authorities to make the trip work smoothly – regarding everything from following distance and exemptions to liability and safety, information that will prove to be invaluable (if it’s actually utilized of course – hint,hint,nudge,nudge’Murica) for us across the pond when it comes time for our own implementation tests.
The goal of the challenge is to pave the way for a multi-national, coordinated push towards connected and more efficient freight transit in the European Union. The rewards of the challenge however could be much further reaching for the future of connected trucks worldwide.