Two weeks ago I wrote about the Dutch Government wanting Netherlands to be a testing ground for self driving vehicles. Today they have put their money where their mouth is. Minister Schultz, responsible for roads and waterways, rode along with a convoy of three Scania Trucks for a self driving vehicle test.
Testing.. 1.. 2.. 3..
Three Scania R500 Streamline trucks left the factory in Zwolle and went on a test drive on the nearby A28 highway. The steering was done by truck drivers, but the speed and breaking were managed by the front truck. The plan is to have fully self driving trucks in the future.
Platooning it is
The technique that was used on the A28 is called Platooning. All trucks are connected through a wifi type signal and the first truck determines the speed, while trucks 2 and 3 follow its lead. With this technique trucks can drive closer together, which has several advantages. Trucks driving closer together leaves more room on the road for other traffic, and when they are closer together they experience less drag, which means they burn less fuel, and also emit less carbon dioxide.
Dutch laws and regulations will be changed to allow full scale testing of self-driving trucks and vehicles. LogisticsMatter will keep you posted on further developments on the Dutch roads.
See for yourself!
Please find footage of the platooning trucks filmed by local TV Station RTV Focus Zwolle below: