Technology that allows vehicles to travel in close formation on the road – like a cyclists in a race – has the potential to cut fuel consumption by up to 12 percent.
Scania is developing a system called platooning. Using inter-vehicle communication, this system allows heavy vehicles to form fuel-efficient, aerodynamic formations on motorways. Trucks within the convoy automatically follow a lead truck, cutting fuel consumption by as much as 12 percent.
Together with the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, KTH, Volkswagen Research and other partners, tests of platooning have begun on a 520-kilometre route between the Swedish cities of Södertälje and Helsingborg.
Platooning can already be put in practice with a safe distance between vehicles. Further fuel savings are, however, within reach when vehicle systems are electronically connected through common communication interfaces.
The concept is presently being developed in several European research projects, including establishing effective systems for trucks to join platoons along routes. Scania is lead party in the European Companion project which aims to conduct real-life trials in Spain.