The UK Department for Transport (DfT) and Highways England has commissioned TRL to lead the first real-world operational trial of platooning vehicles on UK roads (click here for story).
The £8.1m trial will see TRL lead a consortium of partners including DAF Trucks, the UK market leader of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) sales, Ricardo, who worked with TRL to deliver the HGV Platooning feasibility study for the DfT in 2014 and DHL, the global market leader in the logistics industry.
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 commented: “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.”
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 programme of driving simulations, driver training and test track trials over the coming months.
The HGV Platooning project adds to TRL’s growing programme of innovation into future transport and mobility solutions, focused on (i) highly-automated, self-driving vehicles, (ii) intelligent, connected infrastructure and vehicles, (iii) low carbon technologies and electrification and (iv) shared mobility services. Today TRL, together with its partners, has an active portfolio of autonomous, connected, electric and shared mobility projects totalling in excess of £50m. These include GATEway, MOVE_UK, Atlas, Driven, Streetwise and DRAGON
The project partners are:
• TRL: The overall project lead and research partner, responsible for project and risk management.
• DAF: OEM partner and UK market leader for commercial trucks, responsible for supplying vehicles to be used in the project.
• Ricardo: Technology partner and global engineering, strategic and environmental consultancy.
• DHL: Leading logistics provider in the UK, will be providing drivers and freight deliveries for the trials.
• Transport Systems Catapult: Research partner, will contribute to technical trial design and data analysis.
• Millbrook: Test partner, will provide the test track facilities for the off-road platoon testing.
• TNO: Currently leading the Dutch Truck Platooning Trials and will provide reciprocal representation on both the UK and Dutch Advisory Groups.
• Costain: A strategic partner to Highway England with in-depth knowledge of the strategic road network.
• Apollo Vehicle Safety: Research partner, will provide knowledge and expertise on vehicle safety.
TRL is the global centre for innovation in transport and mobility. It provides world-leading research, technology and software solutions for surface transport modes and related markets of automotive, motorsport, insurance and energy. Established in 1933 within the British Government as the UK’s transport research laboratory, TRL was subsequently privatised in 1996. Today, TRL has more than 1,000 clients across 145 countries.