Platoons of Self-Driving Trucks Cross Europe
Yesterday, six platoons of self-driving trucks converged in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, part of the 2016 European Truck Platooning Challenge and marking the first time that trucks equipped with the technology had crossed international borders.
Platooning is when a group of automated or semi-automated trucks (a.k.a. a road train) is connected via wi-fi on the road. The trucks communicate with each other, maintaining a small distance between each vehicle. Having a short following distance is a bad idea for human drivers, who need more reaction time to react to a braking car up ahead. Computers don’t have the same kind of problem, so they are able to take advantage of some of the perks of tailgating. Following closely together opens up more space for other drivers on the road, and also reduces the push of air against the trucks, cutting the amount of fuel needed by up to ten percent.