Platoon from DAF Trucks, TNO, NXP and Ricardo on its way to EU Truck Platooning Challenge: EcoTwin leaves from Westerlo

Eindhoven, 5 April 2016. "Belgium will strongly support continued development of truck platooning in Europe."  With this pledge, Christophe Leurident, advisor to the Belgian Mobility Minister Jacqueline Galant today gave the green light for the departure of the EcoTwin truck platoon in Westerlo, on its way to the European Truck Platooning Challenge. On Wednesday 6 April, the EcoTwin combination, the result of close collaboration between DAF, TNO, NXP and Ricardo, will be greeted at around midday by the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, Schultz van Haegen at Maasvlakte near Rotterdam.

The European Truck Platooning Challenge is an initiative introduced by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, with the aim to gain approval for the large-scale, pan-European testing of truck combinations (‘platoons’) that are linked wirelessly. This functionality enables the trucks to drive on closer following distance, which provides benefits in terms of fuel consumption, CO2emissions, road safety and traffic flow.

Truck Platooning uses automated driving technology to allow trucks to drive a short distance apart. The second vehicle automatically follows the first using Wi-Fi, radar and cameras.

One unique aspect of the EcoTwin combination is the Wifi-P connection developed by NXP. This allows the second truck to respond up to 25 times more quickly than a human-being, and the following truck slows down before our eyes even perceive that the vehicle in front is braking. Wifi-P also allows drivers on board the DAF trucks to talk to one another, and a large screen in the second truck displays what the driver of the first truck can see up ahead (‘See Through’).

Continued development required
"It goes without saying that a lot of development is still required before we can introduce platooning as a new technology on the road network", says Ron Borsboom, member of DAF Trucks' Board of Management and responsible for product development. "This process will certainly not be completed before 2020. A great deal still has to be sorted out in terms of legislation, liability and acceptance."

Up to European politicians
"Belgium will do its utmost to enable truck platooning tests on public roads in order to gain more experience", explained Christophe Leurident, advisor to minter Galant. "It's now up to European politicians to make this possible, and together with the Dutch minister Schultz van Haegen, we would like to put our combined weight behind these efforts."

About EcoTwin
‘EcoTwin’ is a consortium comprising DAF Trucks, TNO, NXP and Ricardo, with each party contributing its own specific knowledge and experience. NXP provides the wireless, state-of-the-art communication system between both vehicles through the use of cameras, sensors, radar and Wifi-P. As a leading consultancy firm, Ricardo provides advice concerning the functional safety of the systems. TNO is responsible for the development and integration of the complete package of new technologies. In addition to the integration of all systems in the vehicles, DAF Trucks is responsible for all testing. The DAF Axle and Cab Factory in Westerlo was selected as the starting point for the EcoTwin combination's journey because this year marks the 50th anniversary of DAF starting production in Belgium.

Photo caption:
Kick off European Platooning Challenge at DAF axle and cab plant in Westerlo, Belgium.
From left to right, Christophe Leurident (Advisor Belgian mobility Minister Galant), Ron Borsboom (Director of Product Development DAF), Maurice Geraets (Director New Business NXP), Leo Kusters (Managing Director Urbanization TNO), Gert Liefting (Managing Director Ricardo Netherlands).

DAF Trucks N.V., a subsidiary of the US-based PACCAR Inc., is a leading manufacturer of light, medium and heavy-duty trucks. DAF is also a leading provider of services, including MultiSupport repair and maintenance contracts, financial services from PACCAR Financial and a first-class parts delivery service from PACCAR Parts. DAF Trucks N.V. has production facilities in Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Westerlo in Belgium, Leyland in the United Kingdom and Ponta Grossa in Brazil, and over 1,000 dealers and service points in Europe and beyond.

Ricardo plc is a global consultancy firm active in the fields of strategy, technology, environment and safety. Ricardo is also a specialist niche manufacturer of high-performance products. The firm has in excess of 2,900 expert engineers, consultants and scientists working in its core areas of engines, gearboxes, vehicles, hybrid and electrical systems, and environmental forecasting and impact analyses. Ricardo plc is active in a wide array of market sectors, including automotive, rail, defence and energy.

NXP is an international player in the field of developing and manufacturing semiconductors, focusing on "secure connections and infrastructure for a smarter world". From chips for wireless infrastructure to energy-efficient and safe systems, NXP's innovative products are used in the automotive sector, industry, consumer electronics and computer technology, and are geared towards making life safer, easier and better. NXP has locations in 35 countries and employs 45,000 people. The company's turnover in 2015 was USD 6.1 billion.

TNO employs more than 3,000 professionals. The company draws on their knowledge and experience to devise smart solutions to address complex issues. These innovations help strengthen companies' competitiveness and society's well-being in the long term. To achieve these aims, TNO partners with over 3,000 businesses and organisations both at home and abroad. In the field of transport, TNO catalyses progress by combining technological innovation, efforts to influence people's behaviour and smarter organisation to make transport and logistics cleaner, quieter, safer and more efficient.

Note to editors:

For further information, please contact:

DAF Trucks N.V.                 Rutger Kerstiens                +31 (0)40 214 2874
NXP                                    Martijn van der Linden      +31 (0)6 10914896
Ricardo                               Richard Laan                     +31 (0)6 1758 9365
TNO                                    Monique de Geus              +31 (0)888 661 017

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