Truck platooning is the future of transportation

Technology can reduce fuel consumption, aid safety

Truck platooning is the linking of two or more trucks in a convoy, through a combination of connective technology and automated driving support systems.

Trucks in a platoon automatically maintain a set distance between each other, which will eventually reduce the need for drivers.

As automated technology continues to develop at a rapid pace, the trucking industry has emerged as a leading sector in pushing autonomous vehicles forward.

Around the globe self-driving trucks are being tested, with platooning seen as the future of transportation. Industry experts believe that artificial intelligence and automated technology will help keep the roads safer, and improve the effectiveness of the supply chain.

Truck.com report that regular truck drivers need to keep a distance of 500 to 545 feet between vehicles for safety reasons, while a platooning truck reduces that distance to 30 to 50 feet. Platooning lowers the chance of road accidents, reduces fuel consumption and Co2 emissions, and delivers goods faster and more efficiently.

When it comes to fuel consumption, experts see truck platooning as a more efficient way to increase fuel savings.

Given that the trucks will be able to drive closer to each other, the air-drag friction is reduced significantly, which can, in turn, save 4.5% in fuel for the front truck and 10% for the truck following it. There is also the added safety benefit of preventing traffic from cutting in, subsequently reducing the chances of a collision.

Below video:Truck platooning – How it works

Road safety is a big reason for the introduction of autonomous vehicles, especially in the trucking industry. Arrive Alive claim that in 2016, 4.8% of the total road crashes in South Africa involved trucks, while 22.7% involved light delivery vehicles.

The Data also shows that drivers contributed to 23.9% of the fatalities. Meanwhile, in 2017 in the United States, data shows that over 37,000 lives were lost on U.S. roads because of fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses.

In the U.S. the dangers of fatigue caused by overdriving have led to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration introducing an Electric Logging Device (ELD) Mandate.

An ELD automatically logs the number of hours a driver spends on the road, and alerts them if they are close to exceeding their legal hours. The digital logs can be accessed by the drivers, operators, and road authorities, reducing the chances of overdriving happening – either accidentally or intentionally.

Verizon Connect explain that ELDs also have compliance management software since government regulations are constantly changing. The integration of IoT technology into the trucking industry, through ELDs, has been part of the evolution to autonomous trucks.

Here at Road Transport News we noted that truck brands are joining forces to implement platooning. An effective communication system between two vehicles plus other various automated systems need to work fluidly together to ensure that trucks follow a straight pathway.

In Europe, rigorous tests are taking place with fully autonomous public road testing expected to happen in 2021.

Although truck platooning still has a long way to go when it comes to boosting asset safety and security, enhancing productivity, and upgrading the overall quality of transportation, the technology is off to a good start.

With the right software solutions and vigorous testing, platforming will transform how goods are delivered.

One Comment

  1. I hear what you say but, likening the self-drive to auto-landing systems in aviation, surely there has to be a human backup to apply “reasoned evasive reaction” to the myriad of potentially hazardous contingencies that could eventuate in mixed traffic.

    Is “robotic reactive judgement” capable of thinking through a unique circumstance, in wet or dry conditions, day or night, and choosing a manoeuvre or multiple actions, capable of mitigating potential collision or overturning?

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