Automated driving is developing quickly and provides a key opportunity for making truck transportation safer, more fuel efficient, and less demanding for the driver. It also creates an opportunity for industrial leadership.
The TKI EcoTwin II project with DAF, NXP, Ricardo and TNO successfully demonstrated safe two truck platooning at 0.5 s time headway on a test track.The EcoTwin III: Econvoy project has the following objectives:
- Develop technology for robust three truck heterogeneous platooning system with an arbitrary platoon leader with a time gap of 0.3 seconds or less (or 7 m at 80 km/h) that is functionally and/or operationally safe.
- Publicly demonstrate automated driving in a truck at Technology Readiness Level 6 (TRL).
The truck market is changing substantially in levels of automation and business models. Basic automated functions like Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and lane keeping are available in several trucks. More advanced automated functions like truck platooning are developing rapidly. Fuel consumption of trucks and reliable time of arrival are key metrics for truck operators. Truck platooning can significantly reduce fuel consumption by reducing aerodynamic drag in the gap between two trucks. By taking the task of leading the platoon in shifts, following drivers can relax which contributes to safety and reliable time to arrival.
Ricardo has a deep understanding of various challenges involved in getting a connected and automated vehicle (CAV) system road ready, such as hardware reliability and redundancy, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication challenges, integration of a platoon into the road network (e.g. managing other vehicle cut-ins), anticipation of other road user behavior, understanding how the platoon may be perceived by other road user, and the productionisation approaches that will be required to move the systems beyond TRL6.
The underlying technology consists of:
- Sensing technology: consisting of a combination of cameras and radar sensors fused with the V2V information to enable the trucks to automatically follow the vehicle in front at close distances which delivers fuel economy savings through aerodynamic benefits
- Platooning control algorithms: control software for the platooning lateral and longitudinal control, sensor fusion, safety monitors and round vehicle world modelling
- NXP BlueBox: a high-performance vehicle hardware platform for safety critical processing and health monitoring. The platform will be further specified, developed, and evaluated.
- NXP V2V solution: WiFi-p IEEE 802.11p compatible wireless transducer unit by NXP for V2V communication of extended ETSI TS 102 messages (acceleration, braking, platooning), audio, and video. Ultra Wide Band as a redundant channel for safety critical messages.
- Fail-safe architecture: higher levels of automation require a fault-tolerant and fail-safe or fail-operational hardware and software architecture that can last several truck demonstrator generations.
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