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Truck Manufacturers are looking at "Platooning" as the first step rather than jumping to full Autonomous

Roger Nielsen, president and chief executive officer of Daimler’s North American Truck business division also noted that the company has been testing advanced platooning systems on public roads in both Oregon (near Portland, where the company’s North American headquarters is located) and in Nevada, which was an early adopter of autonomous vehicle regulations in 2014. The tests are based largely on the Detroit Assurance suite of active vehicle safety systems, Nielsen said, which enable coordinated vehicle movement at close following distances in platooning applications to take advantage of increased fuel efficiency brought enabled by shared aerodynamic efficiencies.

Nielsen noted that Daimler engineers have been testing platooning systems on test tracks and select U.S. highways, demonstrating how the new technology can improve fuel efficiency, driver productivity, convenience, and safety.

The first step of platooning is called “pairing,” where two trucks travel in tandem at distances closer than what is possible under manual operation. A team of engineers is testing the system in trucks under controlled circumstances in both Oregon and Nevada highways, driving in cooperation with officials in those states.

In addition to road testing, Nielsen revealed that DTNA is conducting coordinated braking tests on a closed track at the company’s High Desert Proving Grounds in Madras, Ore. in preparation for a fleet trial early next year.

http://www.truckinginfo.com/news/story/2017/09/daimler-announces-public-highway-platooning-tests.aspx
 

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http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/drivers/news/story/2017/09/federal-highway-adminstration-begins-three-truck-platoon-testing-on-virginia-interstate.aspx?ref=rel-recommended

The Federal Highway Administration is overseeing a series of runs testing three-truck platoons on a stretch of I-66 near Centreville, Virginia.

The agency oversaw a successful series of two-truck platoons in Texas last summer.

Both tests are part of a four-year research project to test the effectiveness of state-of-the-art driving and communications technologies.

Truck platooning uses vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology to allow trucks to follow each other more closely – at about one second apart – and travel in a more coordinated fashion. According to a report from the North American Council for Freight Efficiency last year, trucks traveling in a platoon convoy can take advantage of increased aerodynamic efficiencies and see fuel economy increases of from 4% to 7% depending on operational conditions.

FHWA said the Virginia tests taking place now are using partially automated trucks that handle acceleration, deceleration and braking, with professional drivers behind the wheel actively steering the trucks and able to step in if necessary. It emphasized that the advanced technology that makes platooning possible is meant to supplement, not replace, the nation’s commercial motor vehicle operators.
 
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