Independent transport and mobility research specialist TRL (formerly Transport Research Laboratory) has been appointed by the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) and Highways England to lead the first real-world operational trial of platooning vehicles on UK roads.
The £8.1m (US$10.4m) trial will see TRL lead a consortium comprising delivery and logistics specialist DHL, heavy goods vehicle (HGV) manufacturer DAF Trucks, and consultancy Ricardo, which worked with TRL to deliver the HGV Platooning feasibility study for DfT in 2014.
Applying experience gained in platooning projects in Europe and the USA, the project will collect information and independently evaluate heavy vehicle platooning under real-world operational conditions. Trials will be tailored to the unique requirements of UK roads and will collate the evidence required to understand issues such as fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, safety, acceptance by drivers and other road users, implications for future infrastructure, and the commercial case for adoption.
Rob Wallis, chief executive, TRL, said, “The UK has an unprecedented opportunity to lead the world in trialling connected vehicle platoons in a real-world environment. TRL and its consortium of leading international partners, have the practical and technical knowledge gained from previous projects to understand what is required to put a connected vehicle platoon on to UK roads safely. The team are now taking that expertise and uniquely applying it within live traffic operations.”
Richard Cuerden, academy director at TRL, said, “Platooning technology has the potential to deliver a wide range of benefits to all road users. As well as supporting the DfT and Highways England in informing future infrastructure investments and policy decisions, the trials will highlight the services that platooning may offer road users and whether these can safely contribute to a reduction in vehicle emissions, improved journeys and greater economic prosperity.”
The on-road trials will form part of regular DHL logistical operations and are expected to take place in 2018, following the successful completion of a rigorous program of driving simulations, driver training and test track trials over the coming months.
August 25, 2017