Volvo’s Three-Truck Platooning
A history was made on Monday, when a successful Volvo’s three-truck platooning demonstration was conducted.For that Volvo partnered with Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology from the University of California- Berkley. It was a project that they started back in April 2015 with Peleton as their partners.
It was an automated three-truck platoon with a Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control technology, running from the port of Los Angeles along Interstate 110.
The three Volvo 670 model trucks were carrying cargo containers, simulating real conditions, travelling at speed of 55 mph. The trucks maintained a 50-foot following distance, which is closer than usual for most on-highway trucks.
With the use of a Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control, forward-looking sensors and vehicle to vehicle communication, the trucks drove together, responding to one another and their surroundings, and maintained speed without driver intervention. Staged vehicle cut-ins also occurred during the drive, allowing the platoon to handle common traffic situations. The system also allows trucks to enter, hold or leave platoons.
Overall Volvo’s three-truck platooning was a successful test, which provided an insight into the future of long-haul trucking. But at the same time, Volvo stated that there is no need for a concern from the drivers, as this system is meant to aid drivers, not replace them.
With this technology, the greenhouse gases will be reduced and energy efficiency will be increased. It also saves fuel, which is extremely helpful for carriers that average load trips of 500 miles or more. The trailing trucks could see around 10% fuel economy boost while in platoons and lead trucks will get around 5% boost.
It is a good news for small fleets and owner operators because they could see an investment payback period of around 10 months if they invest in the platooning technology. The payback for larger fleets would be around 18 months.
But there are still obstacles to be crossed. The most important defect to be addressed is, for the communication system to be better protected from interference from outside systems.
It could take few years for the technology to roll for real on the roads, but when it does it will be successful because this test proved that “it is smooth, safe and efficient transport”.