For years the truck manufacturer Scania is testing the so-called platooning – a column of trucks driving very closely spaced. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February Scania and the telecommunications company Ericsson announced jointly to continue optimizing the networking of trucks.
The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year is all about the future of mobile devices and telecommunications. It gives an insight into the devices and services of tomorrow. Of course there is an additional benefit for the transport industry. Because communication between vehicles and with the infrastructure is only possible, if the technical conditions are created.
Robust mobile connections
According to statements by Scania and Ericsson these are partly already available with the mobile phone standard, at least when it comes to LTE and the yet to be created 5G networks. For the congress in Barcelona the two companies have announced that they want to create opportunities for a suitable vehicle-to-vehicle communication via the mobile network. In addition, the risks associated with unpredictability and delay have been minimized by the new mobile radio standards. “We are now seeing a greater chance for a reliable communication over mobile networks,” says Hakan Schildt, Director of Strategy and Business Development at Scania Connected Services and Solutions.
Technically, a regular distance is possible today already. At Scania this assistance system is called Cruise Control. It is a predictive cruise control that adapts to the pace of the preceding vehicle. However, the legal regulations only allow such systems at a safe distance. But in order to continue to reduce fuel consumption the distance would have to be drastically reduced. This is still not permitted by law.
Insecure legal situation
It also raises the question of how such a platooning system can function in a highway network as the German. If several trucks form a column, they would block the right lane for cars who need to make a turn at exits and entry ramps. Here probably several considerations still need to be taken before such a system can become reality.
Until then, there could be a vehicle-to-infrastructure communication that also allows open platooning systems. These could be planned and organized in advance. Trucks of other brands could just enqueue as well as trucks of other transport companies. At least Claes Herlitz, Head of Automotive at Ericsson, is convinced that various transport companies would adopt the technique.
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