Freight and Logisticsplatooning trucks

Associated with his recent report on the 2019 ITS World Congress, iMOVE Managing Director, Ian Christensen, made a remark about truck platooning. To paraphrase Ian, and using the modern style that is clickbait, ‘Platooning is dead’.

Ian was, of course, referring to it as a topic of a talk or paper at the ITS World Congress itself, not as pronouncement of doom for the technology. But in terms of platooning as a viable solution, there has been some talk over the past twelve months. A big cause of the conversation was on the back of Daimler’s announcement that it was withdrawing from trialling the technology.

That, in combination locally with the long-talked-about-but-never-eventuated trial of platooning in Western Australia, and the fact that for years in some areas of Australia we’ve had a perhaps faux platooning solution, the road train, could perhaps make you wonder about the viability of truck platooning in Australia.

But no, there has been some movement in this area of ITS. Cohda Wireless recently held a demonstration in Adelaide of its V2X-Locate technology, tasked for the job of platooning, and working with the ETSI (ENSEMBLE) platooning software stack. In the trial, Cohda displayed the capability of its tech to:

  • Have vehicles safely drive autonomously in a platoon incorporating gap management of 5 metres (16ft) +0.4 seconds at 95 kilometres per hour (59 mph)
  • Operate safely and accurately even in city environments due to the incorporation of V2X-Locate technology and its ability to provide accurate positioning even in environments where GNSS doesn’t work well.
  • The provision of an extended perception horizon for each truck in the platoon due to the trucks being connected to each other through Cohda’s connected vehicle technology and not just ‘aware’ of each other’s physical presence through sensor technology.
  • Allow vehicles to join and leave an active platoon without disrupting the system.
  • Have the platooning system detect and accommodate other vehicles without compromising the system.
  • Have vehicles operate efficiently (smooth acceleration and moderate braking) when connected in the platoon.
  • Have vehicles brake in unison (cooperative braking) due to all vehicles being connected to each other, as opposed to operating in a daisy-chain manner.

List from the Cohda platooning solution page

In regards to when this technology would become commercially available Dr Paul Alexander, Cohda Wireless’ Chief Technical Officer, told iMOVE that, ‘We are working with truck OEMs to finalise the product. This might involve some further testing and refinement but we are very close to being able to take it to market.’

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