The main goal of the ENSEMBLE project is to pave the way for the adoption of multi-brand truck platooning in Europe to improve fuel economy, traffic safety and throughput. This will be demonstrated by driving six differently branded trucks in one (or more) platoon(s) under real world traffic conditions across national borders.
Following objectives are defined:
- Achieve safe platooning for trucks of different brands. Relevant authorities will be approached to jointly define road approval requirements including V2I communication.
- Work towards the standardization of different aspects of platooning: manoeuvres for forming and dissolving of platoons, operational conditions, communication protocols, message sets, and safety mechanisms. Platooning Levels will be defined to guide the design of different platooning functionalities and strategies, reflecting the full diversity of trucks with platooning functionality. Stakeholder groups will be set up to ensure that the pre-standards are taken up by the respective organisations and working groups to form the actual standards. If necessary, a multi-brand platooning working group will be initiated.
- Real-life platooning: The intended practical tests on test tracks and in real life serve a three-fold purpose:
- “learning by doing” testing across a C-ITS corridor in Europe,
- assess the impact on traffic, infrastructure and logistics, while gathering relevant data of critical scenarios and
- promote multi-brand platooning through a final event.
ENSEMBLE brings the key actors for deployment together: six major truck OEMs will form the core of the project consortium, supported by CLEPA that will act as an umbrella organisation to involve all relevant suppliers. In addition, a limited number of expert organizations will be involved to cover specific topics such as safety assessment, traffic impact, and platoon control system design.
Brands and types of trucks inherently have different characteristics for braking, acceleration, power and speed as well as specific controllers (e.g. AEBS, ACC). To adequately address these heterogeneous aspects, ENSEMBLE firstly aims to conceptualize an un-branded platoon-enabled “white label truck” (a vehicle that collects all the common features among different OEMs), in order to define a multi-brand platooning concept and generic interface between vehicles of different brands. In the second phase, the focus will shift to the implementation, verification, and validation of platooning technology, using simulations, experiments on a test track, and ultimately driving on public highways in a multi-brand setting. During these real-life tests, data is collected for verification and validation of the developed platooning technology at the level of platoon coordination, and to import this data into a database of platooning-relevant traffic scenarios. Furthermore the impact of platooning on logistics, road safety, other drivers’ behavior, traffic and congestion, and infrastructures will be assessed and necessary mitigation measures will be proposed. Besides the technical aspects constituting the basis of the project, an integral multi-brand approach also requires a corresponding business concept, which will be addressed as part of the project scope.