Volvo Trucks North America and FedEx Successfully Demonstrated a Truck Platooning in North Carolina
Truckload carriers and private fleet owners are paying increased attention to truck platooning. In platooning, trucks are connected using direct vehicle to vehicle communication. This allows the rear truck to react nearly simultaneously to the actions of the front truck. By electronically coupling the trucks in this way, the trucks can operate at closer distances. They do this in order to create drafting, which creates fuel savings analogous to what a race car gets when one race car follows another car closely. Peloton claims savings of 7% from platooning – 4.5% for the lead truck, and 10% for the following truck.
Peloton Technology is the leading proponent of the opportunistic model of platooning where trucks find each other on the interstate and initiate a platoon. Peloton is testing two truck platoons. In this system, two truckers affirm that they are ready to platoon via a radio connection. Inside the two trucks, each driver hits a button. A verbal cue indicates the system has authorized the trucks to platoon. Then the follower speeds up, pulling their truck up so it’s tailgating about 70 feet from the leader and the platoon is initiated. The feet of the driver of the trailing truck are not controlling the brakes or the accelerator. But this driver still needs to remain alert and capable of taking over the truck if a problem arises.