Following the completion of the European Truck Platooning Challenge on April 6, 2016, the Dutch Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment, Melanie Schulz (below), who spearheaded the initiative, has outlined the next key steps to making truck platooning a reality.
“The results of this first ever major try-out in Europe are promising. The hands-on experience gained here will be very useful in the informal European transport council on April 14 in Amsterdam,” she said.
There are still a number of barriers standing in the way of the roll-out of truck platooning across Europe, many caused by differences in legislation between EU member states.
“Harmonization is needed if we want a wide-scale introduction of platooning,” stated Harrie Schippers of DAF Trucks, speaking on behalf of the Commercial Vehicle Board of Directors of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).
It is also crucial that sufficient demand will be there to ensure the right level of market uptake. Following the Truck Platooning Challenge, there have been some encouraging expressions of interest from the business community and the transport sector, including Unilever and major Dutch supermarkets.
The testing phase is the most important next step. More and more national governments are offering industry the opportunity to test their latest vehicles and technologies, thereby also supporting efforts to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance. However, this is also vital on a pan-European scale.
Watch the trucks in action here.
April 26, 2016