US-based connected and automated vehicle technology company, Peloton Technology, has unveiled a new automated following system that would effectively allow a single human driver to control two trucks at once.
Peloton’s Automated Following is an advanced platooning system, using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology to enable a single driver to drive a pair of vehicles.
Launching the system at the Automated Vehicle Symposium 2019 in Orlando, Peloton Technology CEO, Josh Switkes, said, “We’ve taken a different approach to the commercial introduction of automation in class 8 vehicles.
“We see the drivers as the world’s best sensors, and we are leveraging this to enable today’s drivers to be more productive through automated following platoons.”
Platooning and Automated Following systems work by utilizing V2V communications and radar-based active braking systems, combined with vehicle control algorithms. Peloton’s proprietary technologies link pairs of heavy trucks for connected driving that improves aerodynamics, fuel economy, and safety.
Peloton’s Level 1 (Driver Assistive) system, PlatoonPro, has a driver in both the lead and follow trucks. The driver in the follow truck steers, but the system controls the powertrain and brakes to manage the following distance very precisely and to provide immediate reaction to whatever acceleration or braking the lead truck performs.
PlatoonPro has now operated with six customers and additional customer fleet trials are underway. In each case, the customer and Peloton have seen a perfect safety record. Customer trucks have shown fuel savings averaging over 7%, and have seen very high percentages of miles platooned, as high as 90%. Platooned miles per day have exceeded 700 miles per truck in some cases, resulting in projected fuel savings per truck up to $7,000-10,000 per year, according to Peloton.