Truss backs NTC focus on platooning


Political support crucial to the investigation arrives from Canberra

Truss backs NTC focus on platooning
Scania notes there likely fuel savings from platooning

 

Federal infrastructure minister Warren Truss has given public endorsement to an official investigation into the viability of ‘platooning’ as a possible productivity strategy for the trucking industry.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) has twice indicated its willingness to explore the issues surrounding what promises great savings for transport firms but also deep unease in a public that seems resistant to change, even when there are safety gains in the offing.

"Platooning is an example of a potential future initiative that could be made possible by Co-operative Intelligent Transport Systems [C-ITS] – systems that allow vehicles to communicate directly with each other, and thereby enable a broad range of safety and productivity benefits for vehicle drivers, industry and the broader community," a Truss spokesman tells ATN.

"The technology required for these applications is being developed globally and in Australia.

"Much work is required by governments to consider the policy, operational and regulatory issues associated with such initiatives to ensure they could be implemented safely, and the National Transport Commission is playing a leadership role in considering those issues."

The NTC has twice raised the idea, having mentioned it in the C-ITS Policy Paper of last December and last month when it was mentioned as a "longer-term reform directions identified in consultation with governments and industry".

While there has been some testing done in the US, much of the running has occurred in Europe, with Scania, Volvo and now DAF involved.

While the possibility of using fewer drivers is one possible outcome, Scania has pointed to fuel efficiency and aerodynamics as another.

In an update last December, it quoted Assad Alam, an industrial researcher involved in its test track demonstration as saying fuel use may be cut by as much as 15 per cent.

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