Trucking, as an industry would undergo significant changes thanks to the autonomous vehicle technology that is being developed. It will allow the heavy haulers to make their way in tight formations, also known as platoons. Startup Peloton has an intriguing take on this new concept and details an automated-following system that would enable a human to drive two trucks simultaneously.
Everyone from Toyota to Daimler to the UK government is busy in exploring the possibilities that exist around truck platooning. It is an experimental technology as of yet but could possibly have a substantial impact on the sector of transport. It is incorporated in the vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology. The autonomous trucks continuously speak to each other detailing their position on the road to others that are travelling in a fleet. This would enable the trucks to not only travel much closer to one another as opposed to when humans are in control but will also help in the reduction of congestion, accidents, fuel use, and even carbon emissions.
According to Daimler, it could improve its fuel usage by about 10% thanks to the aerodynamics pros of having its trucks follow a leading vehicle tightly. Peloton is a California based autonomous vehicle company and claims that its existing customers’ trucks are averaging fuel savings of over seven per cent. Peloton has recently announced the Automated Following feature that might be able to up the game once again.
It will allow the truck drivers to pair their vehicle with another, thus enabling a single driver to control them both at the same time. The paired truck would make use of radar-based braking along with the company’s vehicle control software to follow the lead of the truck in front that is being controlled by a human driver. It will copy its steering, acceleration and braking along the journey. It is not that different from the basic definition of truck platooning.
Peloton says that this feature could enable it to double the productivity of the truck drivers. Josh Switkes, CEO of Peloton Technology, said, ‘We see the drivers as the world’s best sensors, and we are leveraging this to enable today’s drivers to be more productive through automated following platoons.’