‘Innovation means being a bit cheeky’

March 09, 2016 287 keer bekeken

The Innovation Lab is closely involved in the European Truck Platooning Challenge. ‘We aim to show that truck platooning is both feasible and safe’, says the Lab’s director Laurens Schrijnen.

The Innovation Lab comprises an area for experimentation and development, offering facilities for large-scale, live experiments around smart mobility. Schrijnen explains that, given the Dutch aim of leading in smart mobility, the Innovation Lab enables innovative services for road users with an eye to maximum safety and reliability. ‘We develop connected and cooperative solutions, leading to better, safer use of the road, with lower emissions. The cooperative bodies active in the Innovation Lab are governmentals, market parties and knowledge institutes.’

Who dares…

Schrijnen believes that innovation belongs in the realm of those who dare: ‘Innovation means being a bit cheeky and climbing out of the box. The possibilities just go on and on. Being cheeky doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re breaking the rules – rather that agreements have yet to be made. The same goes for truck platooning, so in April we are keen to show that it is both feasible and safe.’

Monitoring facilities

To this end the Innovation Lab, based in Helmond, deploys its monitoring facilities in live traffic situations. ‘We have plenty of eyes and ears on and around the road’, says Schrijnen. ‘Like induction loops and cameras to keep a check on traffic flows. Then there is Floating Car Data via G3/G4, which can be used for traffic monitoring. This allows us to determine average travel time and speed. We use our facilities to check out what’s happening across Western Europe and we zoom in on things like congestion, intensity and weather conditions. Meanwhile, the Innovation Lab has entered into a strategic alliance with TomTom, the manufacturer of navigation systems. Every platoon gets a TomTom box or a smartphone, so we can follow the platoons seamlessly.’

Proud

The European Truck Platooning Challenge helps the Innovation Lab judge the accuracy of data and whether the monitoring facilities need to be ratcheted up. ‘And looking at the actual Challenge, don’t think that it’s going to end in April. This is just the start. The DAF and Scania tests in 2015 showed that truck platooning works. But there is a lot still to learn – which will be fun. This is a splendid project and I am proud that the Innovation Lab is involved.’