latooning' lorries could save transport
companies millions in fuel costs each year
Some drivers eat, others read, one even appears
to be asleep. Stranger still, only the driver of the
lorry in front has his hands on his steering wheel.
The other drivers appear to be driving hands-free.
This may sound like a scene from a
sci-fi film, but is actually 'platooning',
a technology being tested to make longdistance lorry driving more fuel-efficient
and less polluting.
Using wireless technology, the lead truck,
operated by a trained driver, controls the
convoy behind it. When he brakes, the
other lorries brake automatically; when
he steers, they steer, too.
Radar-based 'adaptive cruise control'
ensures all trucks are travelling at a
consistently safe distance from each
other. As the vehicles shelter behind
each other in the "road train",
aerodynamic drag resistance is reduced
leading to 15% fuel savings, advocates
of the technology say.
'Platooning' is just one of many
technologies being used to tackle freight
transport emissions, which contribute
a large and growing proportion of all
transport pollution, whether by land,
air or sea.
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Did you know?
n The world needs to cut
emissions by 50% by 2050
against 1990 levels to
avoid the risk of dangerous
n In the EU, while emissions
from other sectors are
generally falling, those from
transport have increased
36% since 1990.
n HGVs alone accounted
for 19% of UK transport
emissions in 1999-2010,
and vans a further 12%.
n Transport accounts for
about 35% to 40% of global
total energy end use.