RT Movin' Along
Platoon Platform Promises to Improve OTR Trucking
On Friday the Utah Department of Transportation began conducting field tests for a new vehicle-to-vehicle communication system designed to improve safety and fuel efficiency for the trucking industry. The UDT and Peloton Technology, the California company developing the system, demonstrated the automated platform technology with two semitrailers traveling on I-80 in Tooele County, Utah.
Similar to what NASCAR racecars are able to do, the technology allows commercial trucks to "platoon" together within about 40 feet to 60 feet of each other and simultaneously brake, accelerate and react to road hazards up to 800 feet away. Peloton’s data engineering lead, John Jacobs, explains that the technology monitors travel and operational data which can result in significantly reduced driver reaction time and lower fuel costs up to 10 percent. "We'll have one truck driving ahead that is in complete control of the driving. The rear vehicle uses a combination of sensors, including radar, high precision global positioning satellites, a camera and two-way communications between the truck to get a precise idea of the location of the front truck," Jacob says. He also explains that data is collected and analyzed to determine the optimal driving behavior for the platoon. The system also utilizes radar-based active braking systems and sophisticated vehicle control algorithms to link the trucks. Although the driver is always in complete control of the steering, it's a semi-autonomous platform where the safety systems are always active when the trucks are out on the open road. It controls braking and acceleration, similar to adaptive cruise control with drivers remaining fully engaged. Jacob says that the platoons allow for a reduction in aerodynamic drag and therefore, better fuel efficiency for both the rear and lead trucks. So far, preliminary testing has indicated up to a 10 percent reduction for the rear truck and about 5 percent for the lead.
The system is also equipped with a real-time video link that allows the rear driver to see the road ahead of the platoon and the lead driver also has a screen to see the rear driver’s view. The company explains that the system is designed so that the data flowing from the trucks increases levels of diagnostic information and promotes safer driving along with better fleet management. “While the system is designed heavily toward safety, the lower fuel costs provide bottom-line savings for large fleet operators,” says Peloton founder Steve Boyd. “Long-haul fleets spend about 40 percent of their operating expenses on fuel. This technology could save companies millions of dollars annually and reduce carbon emissions.”
Boyd says that the technology is currently being tested in trials with various companies and agencies across the United States and by next year it will be available to limited fleets with wider usage scheduled for 2017.
Can you say "self-driving, human pilot less trucks"? More jobs lost to so-called "technology". Question is what will happen when ALL eventually goes FAIL? Auto transmissions have already increasingly limited the number of people who can effectively handle a non-computer controlled truck . . . Can't wait to see what the surviving engine manufacturers do with the new upcoming EPA efficiency standards.
Originally Posted by mikehicks2009
Picture an endless stream of rigs rolling across America . . . at 30 to 40 mph tops?? Hey being point-to-point will probably still be quicker than the Union Pacific?