Truck platoons are the most imminently anticipated application of highly automated driving in commercial vehicles. A fusion of forward-looking radar and V2V communication enable fleets of trucks to safely maneuver with a short distance between vehicles. The reduction in aerodynamic drag for following vehicles, and buildup of pressure behind the lead vehicle yields impressive fuel efficiencies, with various tests reporting convoy savings of between 5% and 10%. “With most fleet operators attributing some 30 to 40% of their operating costs to fuel expenditure, the savings presented by platooning are significant,” comments James Hodgson, Research Analyst, ABI Research.
As technology progresses and regulations adapt to accommodate greater vehicle automation, further benefits to fleet operators will come in the shape of labor productivity gains and better asset utilization. Currently, solutions from pioneers such as Peloton Technology require active intervention from the following driver to keep the vehicle within the lane of travel, but in the future the driver of the lead vehicle could be in sole control of all vehicles in the convoy; allowing following drivers to rest, or eliminating the need for them altogether.
“The emerging market for platooning is promising; in no small part due to its relevance across a considerable spectrum of vehicle automation. The premise stretches all the way from a platoon comprised of two vehicles whose drivers seek to narrow the interval between them in a safe manner, through to scenarios which involve more vehicles than they do drivers,” Hodgson explains.
Recent high-profile investments in platooning technology have been made by the likes of Denso International America, Volvo Group Venture Capital, Magna International, Intel Capital, and the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund, among others.
For a deeper look at ABI Research’s commercial trucking coverage and the convergence of ADAS, telematics, autonomous driving, and big data, please attend our free ADAS and Active Safety Webinar on May 21, 2015 at 11 am ET hosted by VP and Practice Director Dominique Bonte and James Hodgson.
These findings are part of ADAS and Autonomous Driving Technology in Trucks and Commercial Vehicles, a report from ABI Research’s Automotive Safety and Autonomous Driving and Commercial Vehicle Telematics Market Research.
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