Netherlands TNO working on platooned cars in public road tests

TNO is working on technology to enable cars and trucks to drive automatically on the highway. Cooperatively and at low cost. Tests on the public road will have to demonstrate that automatic driving boosts traffic safety, improves traffic flow, cuts down on fuel and thereby reduces CO2 emissions.

A unique aspect of this demonstration is that it concerns automatic, cooperatively driven cars whereby the car drives at a short distance from the car in front, determining the speed itself by communicating with other cars on the road and with the driver not having his hands on the steering wheel. This means that the cars not only have the technology for automatic driving but that they can also communicate through a wireless communication network with other cars and the surrounding infrastructure.

The TNO technology that is applied is both affordable and scalable for the future and can quickly and easily be put into practice. However, public road tests will first have to demonstrate that automatic driving can lead to more comfort, fewer traffic jams and accidents, and less fuel consumption.

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Driving in ‘train carriages’ is part of automatic driving. Vehicles driving close behind each other reduces fuel consumption, from the last and the first in the train. The transport sector is tracking developments in this area very closely; it hopes that through techniques like trucks driving in columns or ‘platooning’, as the jargon calls it, the sector can stay at the head of its international rivals. This is already possible with two trucks. If two trucks drive close together, 10-20% fuel can be saved, which results in 20% lower CO2 emission. Here, too, public road tests in real traffic will have to demonstrate that the automatic driving of trucks not only makes road transport more efficient and green but also safer. TNO is striving together with the sector and the government to enable such tests to happen in 2014 and 2015.

TNO is working on technology to enable cars and trucks to drive automatically on the highway. Cooperatively and at low cost. This test drive shows automatic, cooperatively driven cars whereby the car drives at a short distance from the car in front, determining the speed itself by communicating with other cars on the road and with the driver not having his hands on the steering wheel. The test drive is the result of the Dutch Automated Vehicle Initiative (DAVI) in which TNO collaborates with TU Delft, RDW and Connekt.

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