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Beijing is sinking, study says

Beijing residents have put up with choking smog, trash-filled rivers and toxic running tracks. Now they have another concern -- sinking.
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Posted: June 27, 2016, 2:26 am

Pound falls further over Brexit fears

The pound falls sharply against the dollar in Asian trading on Monday, adding to Friday's record one-day loss.
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Posted: June 27, 2016, 1:39 am

Rainbows break out across the world for Pride

LGBT citizens around the globe flock to parades and other gatherings as they celebrate gay pride.
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Posted: June 27, 2016, 1:09 am

'Fat cats'

Iranians have taken to publishing their payslips online, angered by revelations that managers in some state companies enjoy surprisingly high salaries.
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Posted: June 27, 2016, 12:20 am

Britain's Labour Party thrown into turmoil

The leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party has vowed not to step down amid challenges to his leadership as the fallout from the UK's momentous vote to leave the European Union continues.
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Posted: June 27, 2016, 12:03 am

Spanish election: PP wins most seats but deadlock remains

The conservative People's Party of PM Mariano Rajoy wins most seats in Spain's election but is again short of a majority.
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Posted: June 27, 2016, 12:01 am

Pope Francis says Church should apologise to gays

Pope Francis says the Roman Catholic Church should apologise to gay people for the way it has treated them.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 11:47 pm

Schezwan dosa anyone?

Food writer Samar Halarnkar explains what Indians have done to Chinese and other cuisines of the world.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 11:24 pm

First voyage through expanded Panama canal

A Chinese container ship has become the first vessel to sail into the newly expanded Panama Canal.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 11:13 pm

Stock market rebel

A profile of stockbroker Brad Katsuyama, who devised a way to prevent the controversial practice of high frequency trading on the US financial markets.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 11:00 pm

50 years on

Fifty years ago this week Barclaycard issued the first credit cards in the UK. Simon Read looks at how the plastic card changed our relationship with money.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 11:00 pm

35 killed in China bus fire, authorities say - CTV News


CTV News

35 killed in China bus fire, authorities say
CTV News
BEIJING -- Local authorities say a long-distance bus has smashed into a guardrail in central China, sparking a fire that killed 35 people and injured 20 others. A total of 55 people were aboard the bus when it crashed into the barrier along a highway ...
Bus fire kills dozens in central ChinaThe Straits Times
At least 35 killed in fiery bus crashNews24 Nigeria
Hunan bus fire in central China 'kills 30'Daily Mail
Hong Kong Standard (press release) -AllAfrica.com -CNN -Chandigarh Tribune
all 63 news articles »
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 10:16 pm

Rollercoaster crash injures eight children and two adults - Daily Mail


Daily Mail

Rollercoaster crash injures eight children and two adults
Daily Mail
Eight children and two adults have been taken to hospital after a rollercoaster derailed and crashed to the ground at a theme park in Scotland. Witnesses said the Tsunami ride at M&D's amusement park at Strathclyde Country Park, Motherwell, had been ...
Like 'a horror film': 10 injured, including eight children, after rollercoaster derails in ScotlandNational Post
10 injured after roller-coaster derails at Scotland's M&D's theme parkGlobalnews.ca
M&D's Tsunami rollercoaster crash: Recap as eight children injured after ride derails and plunges 30ft to groundMirror.co.uk
Irish Mirror -USA TODAY -CNN -NEWS.com.au
all 146 news articles »
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 10:15 pm

IS claims suicide attack against Jordanian troops

The so-called Islamic State group says it carried out a suicide attack that killed six Jordanian security personnel on the border with Syria.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 10:13 pm

Madagascar stadium blast kills two

A grenade explosion kills at least two people and wounds dozens during Madagascar's national day celebrations in the capital, officials say.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 10:10 pm

Stabbings at Sacramento neo-Nazi rally send 7 to hospital - CBC.ca


CBC.ca

Stabbings at Sacramento neo-Nazi rally send 7 to hospital
CBC.ca
Multiple people were stabbed during a rally on Sunday in Sacramento, Calif., the fire department said on social media. The department initially said on Twitter five people were transported to area hospitals after the "mass casualty incident," some with ...
At least 7 injured -- some stabbed -- at California rally, authorities sayCNN
7 stabbed at neo-Nazi event outside Capitol in SacramentoLos Angeles Times
At least six people injured including some in critical after 'mass stabbing' at neo-Nazi rally in CaliforniaDaily Mail
The Globe and Mail (subscription) -NPR -Fox News -CBS News
all 120 news articles »
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 9:28 pm

Scotland wants to block 'Brexit', Labour in turmoil - CTV News


CTV News

Scotland wants to block 'Brexit', Labour in turmoil
CTV News
LONDON -- Britain's shocking decision to remove itself from the European Union brought more political turmoil Sunday as Scotland's leader threatened to block the move and the Labour Party's leader veered dangerously close to losing his post. The sense ...
UK's opposition Labour leader defiant after 12 members withdraw supportThe Globe and Mail (subscription)
EU referendum: Jeremy Corbyn vows to fight for leadership and reshape cabinetBBC News
British EU vote causes alarm abroad as ripples spreadReuters
New York Times -TheChronicleHerald.ca -CNN -Aljazeera.com
all 886 news articles »
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 8:29 pm

Sousse attacks: Survivor on anniversary

A ceremony has been held in Tunisia to remember the 38 tourists shot dead on a beach in Sousse exactly one year ago.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 7:22 pm

Iraqi general: 'The battle for Falluja is over'

A senior Iraqi general has announced on state TV that the battle for Falluja is over as Iraqi troops retook the final ISIS holdout in the city.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 7:01 pm

Germany 3-0 Slovakia

World champions Germany overwhelm Slovakia in Lille to set up a Euro 2016 quarter-final against Italy or Spain.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 6:49 pm

Spaniards hope latest election will finally see an elected government

AFP_CG46N

Spaniards headed to the polls Sunday for an unprecedented repeat election that aimed to break six months of political deadlock after a December ballot left the country without an elected government.

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Posted: June 26, 2016, 6:42 pm

Turkey uses tear gas, arrests to break up gay pride - CTV News


CTV News

Turkey uses tear gas, arrests to break up gay pride
CTV News
ISTANBUL -- Police in Istanbul used tear gas and detained activists who gathered Sunday to issue a statement to mark gay pride week after authorities banned their rally in the city. At least 19 activists were rounded up, organizers said. Dozens of ...
Istanbul pride parade hit with tear gas by police, at least 19 arrestedCBC.ca
Turkish police fire tear gas in Istanbul to disperse Gay Pride activistsThe Globe and Mail (subscription)
Turkish police use teargas against gay activists in IstanbulThe Guardian
New Zealand Herald -Jezebel -i24news -euronews
all 42 news articles »
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 6:19 pm

Istanbul police break up yet another LGBT pride event with tear gas

AFP_CG3YE

Police in Istanbul have used tear gas and have detained activists who gathered to mark gay pride week after authorities banned their rally in the city. At least 19 activists have been detained.

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Posted: June 26, 2016, 6:10 pm

Euro 2016: France defeats Republic of Ireland

France booked its place in the quarterfinals of Euro 2016 after surviving an almighty scare against the Republic of Ireland on Sunday.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 6:02 pm

Falluja: Iraq PM Haider al-Abadi hails recapture from IS

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi urges all Iraqis to rejoice, after the recapture of the city of Falluja from Islamic State fighters.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 5:22 pm

Euro 2016: Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill says France rest time 'incredible'

Martin O'Neill says France's recovery time from their last game was "incredible" as the hosts end his Ireland team's Euro 2016 hopes.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 4:54 pm

Roller coaster derails at Scottish theme park, injuring 11

Roller coaster accident

A roller coaster carriage at a theme park in Scotland came off its rails on Sunday and fell onto a ride below, injuring 11 people, according to local police.

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Posted: June 26, 2016, 4:08 pm

France 2-1 Republic of Ireland

Hosts France come from behind to beat 10-man Republic of Ireland 2-1 and reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 4:06 pm

Somali minister among 15 killed in extremist attack on hotel - CTV News


CTV News

Somali minister among 15 killed in extremist attack on hotel
CTV News
MOGADISHU, Somalia -- A Somali Cabinet minister is among the 15 killed in an Islamic extremist attack on a hotel in Somalia's capital, police say. Four attackers also died in the assault which was claimed by al-Shabab, Somalia's militant rebels who are ...
Somali cabinet minister among 15 people killed in hotel attackToronto Star
Somali Islamist militants attack hotel in MogadishuAOL News
11 killed in latest hotel attack by Somali extremist groupThe Straits Times
Voice of America -Business Insider -BBC News -FRANCE 24
all 256 news articles »
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 3:47 pm

Panama Canal officially opens after $5.25B expansion

Panama Canal Expansion

It's two years late and more than a billion dollars over budget, but the expanded Panama Canal opened on Sunday after nearly 10 years of construction.

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Posted: June 26, 2016, 3:20 pm

Abducted workers released in Nigera

THREE Australians and a New Zealander working for a Perth-based mining company who were kidnapped in Nigeria have been released.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 3:07 pm

Britain’s Brexit plan: keep calm, carry on

GERMAN chancellor Angela Merkel has told Europe there ’was no need to be nasty’ to push Britain for a quick ’divorce’ as more than 2.2 million Britons appealed for a referendum re-run.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 2:30 pm

Italian mafia boss caught after 20 years on run

One of Italy's most wanted mafia bosses is caught after 20 years on the run, with the authorities finding him asleep in his bed.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 2:29 pm

UK’s Corbyn under pressure amid revolt

SEVERAL resignations and a sacking have rocked UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn’s team as Labour faces a crisis after the vote to leave the EU.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 2:27 pm

Fallujah declared 'fully liberated' from ISIS

MIDEAST-CRISIS/IRAQ-FALLUJA

A senior Iraqi commander has declared the city of Fallujah "fully liberated" from Islamic State group militants, after a military operation of more than a month.

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Posted: June 26, 2016, 2:23 pm

Meet the world’s ugliest dog

SHE’S arthritic, mostly toothless, incontinent and sports a face only a parent could love. Meet SweePee, the world’s newly crowned ugliest dog.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 2:19 pm

Chasing 'El Chapo': Prison breaks, hideaways and life on the lam

The notorious cartel boss hid in a laundry cart the first time he broke out of prison -- or so the story goes.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 2:10 pm

Somalia: Tributes to minister killed in al-Shabab hotel attack

Tributes have been paid to Somalia's environment minister who was among the 15 killed in an attack by the Islamist group al-Shabab in a hotel in Mogadishu.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 2:03 pm

Keystone XL pipeline: Company to sue over rejection

TransCanada, the company behind the disputed Keystone XL pipeline, has filed a formal request to the US government to claim $15bn in damages over the rejection of the project.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 1:49 pm

Now comes #Regrexit: UK voters voice doubt over referendum choice

From Brexit to #Regrexit -- an online petition demanding a second referendum on Britain's decision to leave the EU is nearing 1.5 million signatures.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 12:54 pm

Iraqi forces fully recapture Fallujah from ISIS - The Week Magazine


Iraqi forces fully recapture Fallujah from ISIS
The Week Magazine
The Iraqi army retook the final piece of territory held by Islamic State fighters in Fallujah on Sunday, confirming a tentative win declared a week ago when a small number of terrorists had yet to be routed. The city was controlled by ISIS since ...

and more »
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 12:45 pm

Iceland historian Johannesson wins presidential election

A historian with no experience of public office wins Iceland's presidential election, amid low turnout as many voters were in France for Euro 2016.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 12:24 pm

US flood survivor 'clung to dead husband'

Survivors of the floods in West Virgina in the US have described scenes of death and devastation.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 12:11 pm

Merkel at centre stage as EU faces Brexit fallout - CTV News


CTV News

Merkel at centre stage as EU faces Brexit fallout
CTV News
BERLIN -- Britain's decision to leave the European Union puts German Chancellor Angela Merkel at centre stage as the bloc seeks to preserve its unity and win back skeptical voters across the continent. Merkel stressed that "Germany has a special ...
No clear end to financial uncertainty after Brexit vote: Don PittisCBC.ca
Tough Choices and Hard Lessons for EU After 'Brexit' VoteNew York Times
How Britons feel about BrexitCNN
Daily Mail -Financial Times -Huffington Post -Washington Post
all 13,855 news articles »
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 11:24 am

Corbyn’s Labor in open revolt

ROLLING UPDATES: The future of UK opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn looked shaky after two members of his top team quit and others seemed set to follow.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 11:24 am

Meet Iceland's new first lady: Canadian Eliza Reid - Macleans.ca


Macleans.ca

Meet Iceland's new first lady: Canadian Eliza Reid
Macleans.ca
Voters in Iceland have elected a new president, and in doing so have made a Canadian woman the Nordic nation's new first lady. Gudni Johannesson — a history professor who's never held public office — has been declared the winner of Sunday's vote, ...
Seeking clean slate, Icelanders elect historian as new presidentReuters Canada
Iceland: Gudni Johannesson elected new presidentAljazeera.com
Academic declares victory in Icelandic presidential electionTheChronicleHerald.ca
Financial Times -BBC News -FRANCE 24 -The Straits Times
all 44 news articles »
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 11:04 am

China’s giant leap towards Mars

CHINA has recovered an experimental probe launched aboard a new rocket, marking another milestone in its ambitious space program to get to Mars by the end of the decade.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 10:42 am

‘How do you work for somebody like that?’

A NUMBER of senior Republican strategists have refused to work for Donald Trump, revealing a weakness in his quest for the White House.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 10:30 am

Last ISIS fortress falls in Fallujah

IRAQI forces have seized the Islamic State group’s last bastion in Fallujah, securing full control of the city after a month-long operation, a spokesman said.
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Posted: June 26, 2016, 10:08 am

Brexit vote sparks a mass exodus from U.K.'s Labour Party

AFP_CF504

Britain faced political chaos Sunday as Scotland's leader declared the Scottish parliament might try to block Britain's exit from the European Union and lawmakers in the opposition Labour Party revolted against their chief for his lacklustre efforts to convince British voters to stay in the bloc.

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Posted: June 26, 2016, 10:07 am

Driver-less trucks will be trialed in the UK as platooning

Driver-less trucks will be trialed in the UK as platooning

Driver-less trucks will be trialed in the UK as platooning

The government is expected to confirm that so called, ‘driverless’ trucks will be trialed in the UK.  Generally met with shock and condemnation, what is actually being proposed?

The correct term for the proposed system to be trialled is not ‘driverless trucks’, but ‘platooning’. This is where a series of vehicles use technology to enable drivers to move more closely to each other in convoy than would be safe if he or she were not using them. The UK government has agreed to a limited trial of platooning on a stretch of the M6 in Cumbria, a portion of UK motorway that is relatively quiet with larger sections between junctions.

There is clearly plenty of concern from road safety campaigners and industry bodies concerned for the long term future of lorry driver jobs.

The RAC’s chief engineer, David Bizley said, “One of the main questions is really whether lorry platoons are appropriate for our motorway network, which is why the choice of the M6 in Cumbria for the trials is a good one because the junctions are few and far between and the traffic density is low compared with most stretches of motorway. So while this is a potentially welcome extension to the driverless technology we are seeing trialled in cars, it’s not clear yet whether it is something that would work in practice on the UK’s motorway network.”

Platooning

Platooning is nothing new – research into these systems started back in 2009 with EU funding – with the SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project. The project tested combinations of cars, coaches and trucks and resulted in some significant fuel savings across the board between ten and twenty percent.

The first public road test took place back in 2012 in Spain involving three cars and a truck with a gap of 18 feet between each vehicle at a speed of 85 km/h, covering some 200 kilometres.

Since this time, platooning has been trialled in Sweden, Germany and in the United States. Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett commented: “At the outset, it is important to note that these trucks will not be ‘driverless’. Each cab will be manned. As far as we are concerned, this is an issue where the devil lies in the detail.”

Fuel Saving not Driver Saving

There has been plenty of scaremongering in the press that this will be the end of the long-distance lorry driver as we know it.   The platooning system very much needs the driver to be in control, he needs to be able to join and exit the system to continue the journey and deliver the load.  Platooning saves Fuel

The most likely outcome of the test is a significant improvement in fuel consumption or not only vehicles following in the platoon, but also of the lead vehicle.  Additionally, traffic flow should be smoother when sufficient numbers of vehicles are included.

Tests by Scania have shown that convoy driving using truck “platoons” can reduce fuel consumption by up to 12%.  This could mean a fuel saving per vehicle of some 4,000 litres annually.  This would be able to power a typical family car some 35,000 miles.

“On the test track we’ve driven with a distance of about 10 metres between the vehicles, and we were able to achieve a 12% fuel saving for the trailing vehicle,” says Magnus Adolfson, Scania’s Manager for Intelligent Transport Systems. “If you want to get as close as a couple of metres, then you need several automatic systems that also take control of the steering from the driver during the time that the vehicle is in the truck platoon. That’s also something we’re focusing our research on.”

How Does it Work?

The platooning system uses a combination of existing technologies that have been tweaked to make the system as safe and effective as possible.

Sophisticated Cruise Control

Effectively, the system uses an improved ‘advanced adaptive cruise control’ (ACC), a system that we have enjoyed using on cars for many years now.  Rather than setting a desired speed, the driver selects a desired distance from the vehicle in front which is maintained through the use of radar and cameras.

Driver Aids – Autonomous Braking

Legislation that came into force as recently as November 2015 compels all new trucks over 8 tonnes GVW to be fitted with ‘Autonomous Emergency Braking’ systems – AEB for short.  This means that the driver is taken out of the equation if an accident is likely.

These systems have been fitted to trucks (as an option) for a number of years.  They have clearly proven themselves so effective in stopping the vehicle that they have made their way into legislation.

So we have been able to automatically keep our distance from the moving truck in front and automatically come to an emergency stop for some years.  So what’s new?

Steering by Wire

Volvo Truck (well) controlled by a small hamster

Truck steering systems have become more sophisticated with steering columns becoming a thing of the past with ‘drive by wire’ control. These systems have been wonderfully demonstrated by Volvo Trucks in a series of YouTube videos – one involving a hamster steering a truck by running around a wheel attached to the steering wheel and the second showing a small girl controlling a 32 tonne truck using a remote controller.

Volvo (badly) controlled remotely by 4-year old

Technology that steers trucks using electrical inputs is therefore mainstream and used on our roads every day.

Making it Work

Even if platooning can be made to work technically – safely and reliably – it is of no use unless a system is developed to ‘book a vehicle’ into the convoy.  Simply stumbling across a platoon and tagging along cannot be an option. RHA’s Richard Burnett agrees, “In addition to the concerns of the motorist, is platooning practical for the haulier? Does it make operational sense?” The truck makers are already looking at this. To develop a system to coordinate platoons, Sweden’s Scania is focusing on its COMPANION joint research project with KTH Royal Institute of Technology. The next stage of development involves coordinating truck convoys, thereby making the whole logistics system more efficient. Scania’s researchers are designing a system that allows transport managers to input the routes their vehicles will take, with the system then finding joint routes with other operators who can ‘platoon up’.

An additional issue is related to the length of these platoons and how it might affect other road users.  The maximum length of a tractor unit and trailer combination is currently 16.5 metres in the UK.  Add an extra ten metre gap between a platoon of ten vehicles and you get something that is more than a quarter of a kilometre long.  Would the average UK motorist be able to contend with this moving obstruction when turning off a motorway junction? We have all seen most drivers leaving it to the last minute to turn off after accelerating past slower traffic.  This may therefore lead to platooning in the centre lane or lane three.  Not a popular alternative with car drivers.

UK Leading The Way?

The Department for Transport claims that it would like the UK to ‘lead the way’ in testing platoons.  It is difficult to see this happening when all the manufacturers are based in Sweden, (Volvo, Scania), Germany, (Daimler, MAN), Italy, (Iveco) and France (Renault). However, eight new projects have recently been awarded £20 million in funding from the UK Government to research and develop enhanced communication between vehicles and roadside infrastructure or urban information systems, including new ‘talking car technologies’. Some of this has been awarded to a consortium looking at tyre pressures and safety concerns – an area ignored in the projects to date.

Is the UK a suitable test bed? Our road network is amongst the world’s most congested with the greatest number of junctions.  It is more likely that the UK would be used in the final instance as a ‘stress test’ rather than involved in the fundamental testing process.  It is unlikely that the R&D departments will be upping sticks from Sweden and Germany to spend time in Cumbria.

 

The UK has the reputation in Europe for being ‘Tail-End Charlie’ in accepting and promoting environmental improvements in commercial vehicle technology.  Germany and others were offering significant financial incentives for truck operators to become early adopters of Euro 6 technologies (and the emissions standards that came before them), whilst the UK government offered a few hundred pounds incentive to invest in new technology, the cost of which ran into the tens of thousands.

Consider also, the levels of support from the relevant governments.  Historically, the UK government has been less than supportive of the UK road haulage industry and we see no reason why this approach should suddenly change.  The level of support from the Netherlands is already far greater than the UK – they have also authorised the testing of platooning on their roads and are actively promoting the system with impressive glossy brochures.

During its Presidency of the European Union in 2016, the Netherlands will put together a European Truck Platooning Challenge. This will involve various brands of automated trucks driving in platoons. The Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment, Mrs. drs. M.H. Schultz van Haegen said, “The Netherlands now offers an international testing ground for innovative mobility. Applications for cars and trucks will be warmly welcomed.”

Time will tell if the UK truly gets behind this initiative or is simply paying lip service to a high-tech scheme that is bound to grab headlines.

What Next?

Daimler already have a truck that can actually drive itself.  Sven Ennerst, Head of Truck Product Engineering at Daimler is the man behind the Future Truck 2025 Mercedes-Benz program which takes platooning one step further.

 

In May last year, their Highway Pilot autonomous truck control system won approval for trials on public highways in a (Daimler) Freightliner truck in the US state of Nevada. Then in October 2015, the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg approved trials of Mercedes-Benz trucks with the Highway Pilot system on its autobahns.

Ennerst says, “We expect a change in the organisation of the freight forwarding industry. The driver will take over many of the traffic planner’s functions. He will become more of a transport manager than a driver, from our point of view.” “One thing is for sure – the Highway Pilot system is steering the vehicle by itself. It builds a picture around the truck, looking up to 250 metres ahead, so basically it can react and drive by itself.”

Ennerst is equally concerned about the fuel efficiency of the trucks, “We are fighting like hell for every tenth of one per cent in truck efficiency gains at present,” he says. “We expect a fuel economy improvement of up to five per cent with trucks like this, as a result of less acceleration and braking and less waiting in traffic.”

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