The 46-month project, co-funded by the European Union, demonstrated that platooning transport could play a key role in realizing sustainable transport and pave the way for multi-brand platoon transport and autonomous driving – improving the fuel economy, CO emissions2road safety and traffic flow.
The Ensemble project, co-funded by the European Union and led by the Dutch independent research organization TNO, was launched in June 2018 with the aim of developing, testing and validating a safe multi-brand platooning technology, demonstrating its feasibility under traffic patterns and integrate C-ITS communication services. To achieve this goal, the consortium brought together the main European truck manufacturers, the European intelligent transport system (ITS) organization ERTICO, the European association of automotive suppliers CLEPA and partners such as Gustav Eiffel University and the Vrije University of Brussels.
The project is now complete and the results were presented by the Ensemble consortium at its last public event, held in Brussels on 17 March. The project developed a multi-brand technology agreed between the participating truck manufacturers, which included the specification of a secure vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication protocol to ensure that each truck in the platoon behaves and reacts correctly in every situation of traffic. This technology was successfully deployed in real traffic conditions on September 23, 2021 in Spain, in the Barcelona region, when seven trucks prepared by the participating manufacturers drove together in a fully coordinated platoon.
The Ensemble project has also defined two truck platooning functions: platooning as a support function (PSF), based on proven technology and able to handle all the use cases encountered in current traffic, and platooning as a Autonomous Function (PAF), intermediate step towards a fully autonomous truck, which, at present, has only been defined in theoretical terms.
Speaking at the event, Valerio Liga, Advanced Engineering CCAM Project Manager at Iveco, said: “The ENSEMBLE project represents an important step on our path towards connected and autonomous driving. The great collaboration between major European car manufacturers, suppliers, research centers and universities allows us to demonstrate that the multi-brand platooning functionality can work in real conditions. However, the full potential of platooning can only be achieved when the human driver in follower trucks is no longer required (or when their hours of service can be extended) and the technology is further developed to enable shorter distances. between trucks. This will result in better aerodynamics, reduced fuel consumption and improved transport capacity (higher vehicle density on the truck lane). This is what platooning as a stand-alone function (PAF) aims at. Finally, even if the platooning functionality will not have a future in itself, the studies that have been carried out and the technologies developed during the project will be useful to promote the development of connected and autonomous driving in Europe in the years to come. come“.
Iveco press release.