Scania and Ericsson develop platooning communications

Large vehicle manufacturer Scania and telecommunications giant Ericsson have announced plans to run a research project into how to accelerate the connectivity of vehicles and infrastructure. Their work together will contribute to fuel saving measures on the road including ‘platooning’ where large goods vehicles travel close together to save on fuel.

Scania and Ericsson are convinced that wider deployments of 4G mobile networks across Europe, as well as the future launch of 5G, will enable such technologies to bring the dream of platooning long distance vehicles a step closer to reality.

Håkan Schildt, Director of Strategy and Business Development at Scania’s Connected Services and Solutions business unit said, “We’ve been speaking about introducing vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications for quite some time but now it’s really taking off.”

“We now see greater prospects for reliable communications through mobile networks.”

With LTE and 5G standardisation across Europe, these have created opportunities for dedicated vehicle to vehicle communications using these mobile networks while minimising the risks of communications dropping off due to ‘dead patches’ on the road.

Scania has taken the lead in developing platooning with truck and trailer combinations. The closer vehicles drive together then drag is reduced, improving fuel efficiency. Where they are allowed to travel at a certain distance from each other using current systems, the platooning protocols being developed at an EU level will allow them to travel far more closely together. Mobile technology should allow this to happen. It cannot work on 3G but can on 4 and 5G according to research by Scania.

In a wider perspective, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications is an enabler for system-wide platooning in planning and organizing the formation and dissolution of platoons according to route and schedule. Trucks can thus join and leave platoons in an optimal manner.

“In view of the enormous benefits, we’re convinced that vehicle-to-vehicle communications will be implemented by transport operators of all types,” says Claes Herlitz, Head of Automotive at Ericsson.

“Addressing the challenges posed by growing passenger and freight volumes, enhanced communications can contribute to greater logistics efficiency and thereby reduced environmental impact.”

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