CHAUFFEUR is proposing an advanced telematics-based vehicle control system to increase safely the density of freight traffic and enable better use of existing roads. The project will examine sophisticated systems enabling trucks to be linked electronically. The simpler systems - 'electronic tow bar'- consists of two trucks linked electronically, with the second controlled by the leading truck. This system will be developed, tested and evaluated in public road trials. Feasibility studies will be carried out to examine the extensions of this concept: Platooning, Automated Platooning/Automated Driving.
The benefits of such systems include the better use of the existing infrastructure, cost savings for the users and new competitive EU products for the international market.
A doubling of freight traffic in the EU is predicted within the next fifteen years. There is a reluctance to build even more roads, and increased rail, waterway and air capacity will do little to alleviate the problem. The financial impact on users (delays to delivery schedules, increased fuel consumption, reduced availability of the vehicle fleet etc), and the environmental impact (traffic jams, increased fuel consumption and emissions) require a radical approach to traffic management and advanced vehicle control.
CHAUFFEUR will tackle this problem by developing systems which will safely increase the density of freight traffic, and will enable better use of existing roads. The project has two stages which examine increasingly sophisticated systems. The first, "Tow Bar" will have two trucks linked electronically. This will increase traffic throughput, allowing larger amounts of goods to be transported farther in a normal working day. In the second stage, this concept will be extended to "Platooning" and "Automated Platooning / Automated Driving" where several trucks are linked electronically. This will open new possibilities of fully automating vehicle infrastructure systems, and of linking transport to other modes in a fully managed freight distribution system. In the project duration work on the "Platooning and "Automated Platooning/Automated Driving" concept will be limited to feasibility studies.
The project will start by defining the user requirements in detail. Several users will be actively involved in all stages of the project, but especially in the early definition phase, and at the end in the test and evaluation phases. Once the requirements have been defined, the necessary electronic modules will be adapted from existing technology and devices. These will then be fitted in to several trucks, and the systems will be tested and evaluated. It is planned that the Tow Bar concept will receive a thorough evaluation, including trials on public roads in normal traffic conditions. For Platooning and the even more advanced concept of Automated Platooning / Automated Driving feasibility studies will be carried out. Throughout all of this work, the safety and legal aspects of what is being developed will be kept under close scrutiny.
Benefits and exploitation
Some of the benefits are obvious - reduced traffic jams, better use of the existing infra-structure, cost savings for the users. Others are less so, but are very important for the participating manufacturers. The new systems will not only provide new products for the European market, they will also enable European companies to compete more effectively in the World-wide market place. Intelligent highway systems are the subject of intense research in both North America and Japan. The systems being developed on CHAUFFEUR will enable the companies to access these new markets.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
UB3 1HH Hayes
7944 HS Meppel