Because of technological and regulatory barriers, any path to autonomous trucking will likely involve an intermediate step with a human driver still in the loop. One such intermediate step is virtually connected trucks driving behind one another at short headways in platoons. Often-cited benefits of platooning are reduced fuel consumption, increased safety, and, with progressing technology, lower labor costs. The ENSEMBLE project, run by a consortium of industry and research partners, was set up to make platooning with trucks from different brands a reality. When trucks from different brands can communicate with each other, it increases the density of compatible platoon-capable trucks, thereby increasing the benefits of platooning. The project's multiple partnerships and tests since 2018 culminated in a public demonstration in September where seven trucks from seven different companies drove together in a platoon under real-world traffic conditions near Barcelona.
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