VisionTrack adds its expertise to TRL platooning trial


The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) trails into truck platooning have a new partner, with video telematic provider VisionTrack now providing support to the tests.

A five-camera package is being used to cover the tractor units and trailers as they continue to be tested with front, rear and driver facing cameras working in conjunction with side cameras to capture every aspect of the trails, both inside and out. The system will look to capture supporting data of what occurs during the trails with a particular emphasis on the interactions other road users have with the platooning vehicles.

The camera system will combine with advanced driver-assistance systems to also assess the workload of the driver while platooning compared to normal operations. 

Camilla Fowler, head of risk management at TRL said: “We have brought together a consortium of partners that delivers a powerful combination of vehicle system innovation, operational experience, robust trial design, coupled with a proven understanding of road safety issues. VisionTrack is a leading video telematics specialist that is providing the trial with a vehicle camera and monitoring solution. This will enable us to record and measure activity that may be classified as a risk, which will help us understand and quantify the road safety issues of platooning.”

VisionTrack managing director, Simon Marsh, added: “We are delighted that our video telematics technology is playing an important role in these trials. We are supporting the consortium to implement a connected vehicle camera solution that will help establish whether platooning can be allowed to take place on UK roads safely.” 

The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) is conducting the tests on behalf of Highways England and the Department for Transport and other partners involved in the trials include DAF Trucks and Ricardo.

Hermes UK benefits from CNG IVECO Stralis

IVECO and DB trailer

Hermes UK has reported financial savings and C02 reductions since running 72 CNG-fuelled IVECO Stralis 4x2s which now account for 40% of its fleet.

Each Stralis, Hermes claims, offers it a 150-tonne reduction in C02, and a total C02 reduction of 9,600 tonnes across the 72 vehicles. The company has also reported savings ranging from seven to eight pence per mile.

After purchasing an initial 30 Stralis after a successful 12-month trial involving two units last year delivered a C02 saving of over 4,000 tonnes, the Warrington-based firm has taken delivery of another 42 CNG Stralis 4x2s.

Hermes’ head of client and network distribution, Martin Colloff, explained: “We saw what Waitrose were doing and CNG Fuels explained the benefits to us. The drivers have all taken to the CNG trucks too, and we did operate driver training courses when they first came in. But the driving experience isn’t too dissimilar from the diesels.”

DAF and Mercedes-Benz Euro-6 diesel 6x2 tractor units account for the remaining 60% of Hermes’ fleet. But they are only deployed on longer trunking operations.   

Collof added: “We’ve been pleased with the innovation shown by CNG Fuels, which is why we went for it over LNG. The infrastructure for CNG is also improving, and there’s a gas station next to our Warrington base which is fantastic”.

General manager for CNG Fuels Peter Eaton, echoed Collof’s statement: “Renewable & Sustainable Biomethane is currently the only mass-adoptable low-carbon solution for HGVs and we are thrilled Hermes will now have access to our Warrington Bio-CNG Station, the largest of its kind in Europe.”

As well as investing in CNG IVECOs, Hermes has invested in 32 bespoke Don-Bur double-decker trailers.

They will hold 33% more than the manufacturer’s standard offering, and 12% more than double-deckers already on Hermes’ fleet. Hermes hopes they will improve productivity thus further reducing C02 emissions.