OptiTruck set to complete real-life fuel optimisation test

OptiTruck, an EU-supported project which focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions of heavy duty vehicles by up to 20%, is poised to complete a real-life test of its innovative fuel optimisation module as part of a long-haul delivery mission spanning Turkey, Greece and Italy.

Earlier in July, two Ford F-Max Comfort Plus tractors with Otokar semi-trailers departed from U┼čak, in Turkey, carrying a shipment for IKEA Transport & Logistics Services (Inter IKEA), who supported optiTruck during the test phase.

After taking the ferry from Igoumenitsa, in Greece to Brindisi, in Italy, the drivers reached the IKEA logistics centre in Piacenza, near Milan at the end of July.

For the return journey, optiTruck partnered with Electrolux. This saw cargo loaded at the household appliances manufacturer's plant in Porcia, near Treviso, in Italy. Both trucks are travelling back through Brindisi and Igoumenitsa, reaching Istanbul on  30 July, completing the 5,000 kilometres, 11-day round trip through three countries.

"Bringing together the most advanced technologies from powertrain control and ITS to improve fuel efficiency in heavy-duty road haulage, the optiTruck partners have created a global optimiser consisting of a set of dynamic, intelligent control and prediction components for effective powertrain management,” optiTruck said in a statement.

Based on a predictive control system, the optiTruck global optimiser is expected to deliver a reduction in fuel consumption of up to 20% on a typical road transport mission for a 40t truck, while achieving Euro VI emission standards.

To develop the optimiser, optiTruck used Big Data analytics, cloud computing, predictive algorithms, electronic systems, embedded software, engine and after-treatment systems modelling and vehicle modelling.

"The system develops a strategy for the best route and generates a velocity profile, using the information provided by new-generation navigation systems and big data analytics in the cloud, including predictive traffic and weather information, road topography and road network, and information about the transport mission. Inside the cabin, a smartphone-based interface provides the driver with optimal route and speed profiles, using on-board equipment and the connected Cloud Optimiser.”

The statement added that the objective of the 'experiment' has been to test and fine-tune the fuel optimiser, the driver interface, and the algorithms underpinning the system. Throughout the journey, sensors will record fuel consumption, urea consumption (AUS 32), CO2 and NOx emissions, as well as impact on driver workload and comfort.

"In addition to the ten Innovation Elements developed by optiTruck, our biggest challenge is to test the system with a real mission on this international route that will highlight the importance of our work," said the Project Co-ordinator for optiTruck, Jean-Charles Pandazis.

The international testing has been co-ordinated by the Codognotto Group, a global logistics operator which employs 1,000 staff  and has 50 offices located in more than 20 countries.

"It is extremely relevant that the stakeholders of the logistics sector support the research with their know-how and expertise in order to speed up the technological development," explained CEO Maurizio Codognotto.

"Co-operating in such a project is always difficult for business operators but we have found a full co-operative approach by our customers IKEA Transport & Logistics Services (Inter IKEA) and Electrolux, players which are always looking to increase their standards of corporate and environmental responsibility”.

For his part, Electrolux's Logistics Purchasing Director BA Europe, Marcelo Marcal, said of the optiTruck project: "We are very excited to add to our portfolio another sustainable solution in transport and continue our strong commitment of reducing emissions."

The results of optiTruck's full-scale test will undergo analysis by project partners and will be presented to the public in late August-early September 2019.