Semi Trucks Communicate Through New Technology
Peloton Technology has partnered with Omnitracs, a fleet management company, to provide platooning technology in 2017. Research has been done on the potential effects of semi trucks being able to travel in groups. It may be more fuel-efficient, it might be easier on the drivers, and it might be safer. Now, it may be coming to a highway near you.
Peloton is going to begin pre-orders for its Class 8 truck platooning system this year. This will permit two semi trucks to platoon using V2V radar and communications, with one leading and one following. The system is like an amped up radar-based cruise control, with the trucks themselves sharing essential positional and driving data. The trucks aren’t driving themselves. This is not autonomous technology. The driver is still in charge of steering and will still need to focus on the road. This system will work like adaptive cruise control with automatic emergency braking, but the V2V layer permits the follow truck to engage that automatic braking within a tenth of a second of the lead truck hitting the brakes. According to Peloton Technology, this meets the SAE definition for Level 1 autonomy.
Each group is currently limited to two trucks, so you won’t run into large convoys of linked trucks taking up miles of roadway. And the cloud-based system limits the use of platooning further to specified roads in safe driving conditions. As with all semi-autonomous systems available today, when things get complicated, the driver has to take over complete control. The most direct benefit, according to Peloton Technology’s calculations, is the fuel efficiency. The lead truck in one of these platooning pairs will see 4.5% fuel savings, and the follow truck will see 10%. Omnitracs customers who have the Peloton system fitted to their trucks will be able to route pelotoning pairs as often as possible.