9 May 2017, ESC as the advocate of platooning was invited to participate in the breakfast meeting on this topic hosted by Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, a Christian Democrat Member of the European Parliament. Platoons are road trains consisted of several trucks, managed by the driver of the first truck, with the others following at a short distance, without human interference and without being physically attached.
For platooning to be implemented, there are still many legal and technical issues to be solved.
The first issue to solve is to provide a possibility to use trucks of different brands for a platoon. Until now, for pilot operations, only lorries of the same brand were used. But moving from the pilot stage to the practical use of the platoon, the formation of trucks of only one brand will be too restrictive, and it will be difficult to find lorries of the same brand on the road for the whole platoon.
Secondly, national regulations of the Member States differ, specifying different distance restrictions between the trucks in a platoon. The difference between countries goes from 0.8 seconds to 1.3 seconds between the trucks within the platoon. For making platoons easy to apply in practice, these distances should be harmonized.
Thirdly, a very important challenge to tackle is liability. Will only the driver of the first lorry be liable, or will be there a shared liability? Or will the liability be product-based instead of driver-based? At the moment, every truck is liable which is not so attractive.
Fourthly, the impact on infrastructure should be clarified. Does driving in a platoon cause more, less, or the same damage to infrastructure than the same number of non-connected individual lorries? Studies reveal different findings.
Thus, there are still a lot of questions to be solved. Mr Koch expressed his support and readiness to be involved in the development of this innovation as much as his position allows him.