The concept of truck platooning took a step forward at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Two companies, Peloton Technology and FEV North America, collaborated to introduce SAE Level 1 truck platooning. Peloton is an innovator in automated trucking, while FEV develops smart vehicle technologies.
While drivers remain ready to take control of their respective rigs at any time, the truck technology allows for tight formations which cut wind resistance. This potentially cuts fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent. For typical fleets, fuel is the largest single expense, so such savings are noteworthy. As digitally connected large trucks proceed in tight formations, the potential for accidents may be reduced as well.
Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications coordinate acceleration and braking between participating vehicles. One hope is that the concept will reduce demands on long-haul drivers enough to make the job more attractive. This, in turn, may help address the ongoing shortage of truck drivers.
Advanced driver assistive systems (ADAS) use radar and sensors to allow feet off and hands off driving, according to trucks.com. The radar-based systems are in touch with Peloton’s cloud-based communications infrastructure. The system employs artificial intelligence (AI) to render near-instantaneous decisions responsive to unique environmental and other variables.
Platooning ADAS technology is already available for pre-order, and fleet owners should see delivery beginning in late 2017.