DAF – platooning won’t kill off truck driving

Platooning won’t kill off the truck driving profession according to Ron Borsboom, board member for product development at truck manufacturer DAF.

DAF is one of the key stakeholders in the UK government’s on-road platooning trial. Borsboom has been responding to concerns about the impact of the technology on the driving profession.

“Truck platooning is predominantly an efficiency solution for long haul operations on main roads and motorways, but even then drivers will be specially trained to take control if necessary and deploy other work related activities.

“Truck platooning is not the beginning of the end of the truck driving profession. It relieves the workload of the person behind the wheel. Traffic is getting busier and busier, and more demanding for the driver. Intelligent systems, such as truck platooning, are going to help the driver to cope with those demands,” he said.

DAF is one of many truck companies that have been working on platooning, in DAF’s case since 2015. Its test drivers have driven tens of thousands of miles on public roads on mainland Europe as well as on test tracks.

It uses Wifi-P, radar and cameras allow two wirelessly connected trucks to drive at a short distance apart. Using the driving information from the first truck in the platoon, the following vehicles can automatically accelerate, brake and steer. It reckons this can lead to a ten per cent fuel saving.

However, Borsboom warned: “There is still a lot of technical development ahead of us before we might be able to introduce platooning to the market. This trial, however, is an important and necessary step we need to take.”
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