Living Lab 31 May - Utrecht: Truck platoons on the road in 2017!

May 26, 2016 500 keer bekeken

The EU Truck Platooning Challenge on 6 April was a meaningful start to putting truck platooning on the map. In the Netherlands preparations start up for real life business cases in early 2017. Stakeholders meet in Utrecht (31 May) to discuss potential start-up qualifications for pilot projects.

Dirk-Jan de Bruijn, programme director of the EU Truck Platooning Challenge, stresses the need for real life business cases. “On 6 April industry and government demonstrated that it can be done: truck platooning in Europe, cross border, on public roads. On 7 April the parties involved, as represented in ACEA, CEDR, CLEPA, EReg, ESC and IRU, presented a shared vision, indicating the steps required to realise truck platooning. As far as I’m concerned we should now move ahead with this vision. And I’m talking about the short term here. Now is the time to step on the gas, now that energy levels are still bubbling.’’

Living lab
So, the Netherlands, which holds the European presidency up to 1 July, is forging ahead. A ‘living lab’ will take place in Utrecht on 31 May to check-out the interest of truck manufacturers, transporters and shippers in getting involved in pilot projects. De Bruijn says: “We can look forward to a good level of participation. Alongside European truck manufacturers - DAF, Daimler, Iveco, MAN, Scania and Volvo – names like Ahold, Heineken, Jumbo and Unilever will also be present. The same goes for leading transporters like Peter Appel and Simon Loos. The plan is also to show truck manufacturers and their clients just what is technically feasible. The idea being that the shipper/transporter/EOM troika will yield promising platooning cases, with players named and numbered for specific corridors.”

Corridors At the end of the day, according to De Bruijn, success will be shown by the colouring-in of key national and international corridors on a large, impressive map. This would show the routes to be covered by given truck manufacturers, transporters and shippers in a real life business case. “Obviously, every pilot project also needs to clear away a barrier to the broad implementation of platooning, as the end objective remains the achievement of a complementary project portfolio. To this end, on 31 May we will be working towards drafting a number of concrete cases whereby interested market parties can go out on the road with truck platoons in early 2017.”

Rijkswaterstaat’s role
Clearly, it’s now the turn of the market parties, but the Dutch government is still closely involved for the meantime. The Infrastructure and Environment ministry, and Rijkswaterstaat are going ahead in the spirit of the Challenge, chiefly in liaison mode. “This matches with the Dutch government’s thinking during its EU presidency. We seek to put truck platooning on the political agenda and take it to the next stage. In concrete terms this means that Rijkswaterstaat continues its coordinating role, bringing the implementing parties together as much as possible – as promised by minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen during the landing of the Challenge at APM terminals. On the basis of the role of the Dutch road authority we will certainly be moving ahead within our own national borders. But given the pride the Dutch take in international transport, we will also be checking out potential such as an international corridor with Germany, or southbound, via Belgium.”

Handing over coordination
And what will happen when the Dutch EU-presidency comes to an end on 1 July 2016?  “At that time”, says Dirk-Jan de Bruijn, “another player will take over European coordination. The Netherlands has indicated that it will do everything possible to ensure a smooth hand-over of the truck platooning baton. And so, we will be organising a Next Step meeting – our last – in Glasgow, during the European ITS Conference on 6 June. We will be presenting the findings of our Living Lab (31 May) and the final conclusions from the Challenge. This will provide a basis for other parties, to take a serious forward step with truck platooning in Europe. The momentum exists, as does the network, we have amassed and analysed the initial knowledge, and energy levels are high. So, let’s go!”