The European Truck Platoon Challenge saw bands of self-driving lorries scaling an entire continent yesterday for a worthy cause.
If you got stuck behind a long, long line of identical lorries on your way to Rotterdam yesterday, you were probably (un)lucky enough to be on the tail-end of the European Truck Platoon Challenge.
An initiative organised by the Dutch government, the European Truck Platoon Challenge was a day-long experiment that had auto companies such as Volvo and Daimler unleashing fleets of self-driving lorries from various parts of Europe. The 15-long lines of autonomous lorries snaked their way to their final destination in the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where they were greeted by press, cheering crowds, and a jazz band.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that’s a bit of an OTT reception for a massive queue of lorries. But there’s actually much more to the challenge than you might think. The Dutch government’s aim is a ultimately put smart mobility and automated driving on the European map, and there are some pretty awesome benefits to this prospect for us all.
Thanks to the unique formation in which trucks travel – that is, close together at a constant speed – fuel costs and emissions are significantly lowered. Because they take up less space on the road, the platoons also reduce the possibility of tailbacks and traffic jams, which is an we can all get on board with – even if we’re not particularly inspired by the idea of lorries travelling en masse.
For the world of connected driving, it’s yet another harbinger of how state-of-the-art driving technology will one day benefit not the just individual driver, but also the huge businesses and infrastructures that hold society together.
In case you’re interested, here’s the full coverage of the European Truck Platoon Challenge: