The first real-world operational trial of platooning trucks on UK roads is getting closer, with Fusion Processing the latest company confirmed to be taking part.

A bespoke version of Fusion Processing’s CAVstar system will be used as part of the trial in which three DAF trucks will travel in close proximity, at speed, with the lead driver controlling the speed, acceleration and breaking of the whole platoon.

It has been suggested that platooning has the potential to greatly increase fuel efficiency, reduce carbon emissions for trucks and improve safety.

The £8.1 million trial, funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Highways England, will see Fusion Processing join a consortium of partners including TRL, DAF Trucks and logistics firm DHL.

Applying experience gained in platooning projects in Europe and the USA, the project will be used to collect information and independently evaluate truck platooning under real-world operational conditions.

Importantly, the trials will be tailored to the unique requirements of UK roads. Partners will collate the evidence required to understand potential challenges of platooning and quantify benefits such as fuel efficiency, reduced emissions and safety implications for future infrastructure.

The trial will also consider the commercial case for adoption and look at the acceptance of platooning by both platoon drivers and other road users.

The on-road trials will form part of regular DHL logistical operations. The first phase is expected to take place later this year, following the successful completion of a rigorous programme of driving simulations, driver training and test track trials over the coming months.