27 September 2016

US truck 'platooning' exercise

A field test of truck ‘platooning’ in the US is being prepared by Munich-based transportation technology company Knorr-Bremse, writes Brian Byrne. The system could save fuel and lives, according to the company.

Similar platooning exercises have already been piloted in Europe under an EU-supported research scheme.

The idea is that convoys of trucks car drive very close to each other, each taking the efficiency advantages of ‘slipstreaming’ of the vehicle in front, while advanced radar cruise control and automatic braking systems work throughout the platoon via wireless connectivity.

The ‘electronic drawbars’ allow the vehicles to be much closer to each other than if under driver control only. The braking and acceleration of the lead truck is replicated automatically in the following vehicles.

The US exercise will gauge driver acceptance and the feasibility of fully networked truck convoys. It is being carried out by Knorr-Bremse’s subsidiary in the USA, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC.