Truck platooning relies on advanced technology that increases fuel conservation, improves safety, and decreases the demand for commercial truck drivers.
What Is Truck Platooning?
Using high-tech automated driving systems, platooning links two or more trucks in a convoy during travel. The lead truck serves as the head of the platoon, while the following trucks automatically adapt to changes in movements. As long as trucks within the convoy maintain a close distance to the lead truck, the following drivers do not have to take control of the wheel unless they decide to leave the platoon and drive independently.
Peloton, a leader in truck platooning technology, has developed an automated two-truck system that allows drivers to join together in a convoy. The PlatoonPro connects two trucks together. The system requires both drivers to steer and permits simultaneous acceleration and braking. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication must be installed in both trucks. Both trucks must have radar-based collision avoidance systems, tractor air disc brakes, trailer anti-lock brakes, and nonmetallic mirrors that house short-range communications antennas. Drivers can engage the system on Peloton-approved multi-lane or divided highways and can start or stop platooning at any time.
After Peloton tested truck platooning technology for over 100,000 miles, the automated driving system showed numerous benefits for the trucking industry.
With Peloton’s technology, a truck driver may choose to lead or follow in a convoy, even switching positions during travel. This permits truckers from different fleets to get maximum fuel economy while on the road. Peloton says their system increases fuel savings of 7 percent. The lead truck’s fuel efficiency improves by 4.5 percent, while the following truck’s efficiency improves by 10 percent.
According to the American Trucking Association, the United States is facing a serious shortage of commercial truck drivers. A shortage of 176,000 truck drivers is expected by 2026. Peloton’s driverless technology is expected to be by 2022. Driverless technology will allow the second truck to follow the lead truck and operate without a driver, cutting the need for drivers and the cost of labor in half.
Driving in an automated convoy increases road safety and decreases the potential for serious trucking accidents and injuries often seen by Henderson truck accident lawyers. Most fatal truck crashes are caused by truck driver errors that include excessive speeds, wide turns, truck blind spots, driver fatigue, and driver impairment caused by alcohol or drugs.