compensated for” the study said. “These variations could include load, weather, seasons, driver and routes, and these are known to have significant effects on, for example, fuel economy.” The study also found that in order for a

trial to be successful the same vehicle type should be used. This directly links to another important issue about platooning in that while Daimler may have decided against it, various other manufacturer are still perusing the idea, Volvo Trucks being one, along with companies focussed on platoon technology rather than vehicle production. The British government study also

One of the biggest questions for businesses that run a commercial fleet has been ‘how are we going to improve efficiency in order to survive in the coming years?’ There have been two trains of thought recently, but doubts have been cast over the future of platooning


leet management has always been challenging. With a demanding

consumer base and increasing pressure on delivery times, business sustainability and public perception of large companies, times are more challenging now than ever. A number of businesses involved in

producing commercial vehicles, along with companies that operate commercial fleets, believed that platooning may be the answer to their problems. The idea is that multiple commercial vehicles are linked together and controlled semi- autonomously, allowing them to operate closer together at higher speeds. This could then improve traffic flow through increased vehicle efficiency and therefore lower CO2 as a result. Questions have been raised over the

safety of platooning and specifically the level of driver involvement. It is important to know that platooning is not designed to remove human drivers completely. There must be at least one driver, and this driver’s actions are mirrored by the interlinked vehicles. Based on set safe distances between vehicles, there should be enough time for those following to react to incidents autonomously, however harsh manoeuvres by the lead driver mean there is no way to prevent impacts with


nearby manually-operated vehicles. One of the motoring industries biggest

names, however, has decided that platooning is no longer a part of its plans. Daimler announced earlier this year that it sees “no business case” for platooning. A major component in Daimler's decision was due to lower than expected fuel-saving improvements during the platooning projects the company has run over the last year. Daimler’s Martin Daum, head of the

German companies Global Truck and Bus business division, said last autumn that their tests using recent-model tractor- trailers with highly advanced aerodynamic systems had shown results that were not “as hoped”. While fuel saving has always been held

as a key potential advantage to platooning, there have also been those who openly recognise the challenges in achieving it. In a 2017 feasibility study produced by the British Government, the challenges in saying definitively that platooning improved fuel economy were clearly stated. “In order to collect statistically

significant data for an impact assessment, the effect of variations encountered during daily haulage operations should be

Multiple commercial vehicles are linked together and controlled semi-autonomously, allowing them to operate closer together at higher speeds

concluded that platooning is still three to five years away and that much more data is needed before companies could expect to see it implemented across a fleet of commercial vehicles made up of various models. There is, however, another route that companies running commercial fleets can take to improve fuel economy. Vehicle tracking software has been

proven across a variety of commercial fleets to improve fuel usage while also improving the operational efficiency of fleets as a whole. The use of this technology allows fleet

managers to monitor the progress of each individual vehicle within their fleet. Managers can better plan routes for deliveries or pick-ups based on data regarding traffic flow and, therefore, provide much more accurate arrival times for customers. The system also allows managers to

analyse fuel usage based not only on routes taken but also acceleration, breaking, idling and overall driving style. Managers, therefore, have the data to put into place solutions that can directly target problem areas such as harsh acceleration to improve driving performance and fuel economy. Live tracking of vehicles means that any changes that need to be made unexpectedly, such as adding a pick-up point to the middle of a route, can be done so quickly as finding the closest vehicle is easy to do. Platooning still has key supporters, in

Masternaut www.masternaut. com T: +44 (0) 1132 814 000

vehicle manufacturers and software developers, who believe that the grouping of vehicles together to run as a unit on the road will provide huge benefits to commercial fleets. It does seem however that other alternatives are best suited at the current time to improve on key issues such as fuel usage for companies operating commercial fleets.


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66