Level 4 Platooning With Autonomous Following Truck Unveiled

Peloton Technology unveiled its vision to develop its new Level 4 automated following technology at the Automated Vehicle Symposium in Orlando, Florida.

Its new technology would allow the lead truck to steer two commercial vehicles in a platoon, a driving strategy featuring digitally tethered trucks traveling in single file to reduce drag, reports Freightwaves.  The company’s vehicle-to-vehicle technology allows the human driver in the lead truck to guide the steering, acceleration and braking of the following truck and connects the safety systems between the trucks, Peloton said.

Peloton said its connected driving technology improves aerodynamics, fuel economy and safety.

Josh Switkes, founder and chief executive of Peloton, said the trucking industry is pushing for platooning technology as it deals with high costs to train and retain drivers.

“Every fleet we talked to said if they could hire more drivers they would,” Switkes told FreightWaves. “They have plenty of demand for loads, but they just need drivers, who are hard to find right now.”

Peloton is currently testing its Level 1 PlatoonPro system with six customers. Its technology utilizes drivers in both the lead and follow trucks. The trucks are connected by vehicle-to-vehicle radio. 

Switkes said customers in its PlatoonPro trial are averaging more than 7 percent in fuel savings.

However, before this technology can be rolled out nationwide, state laws and regulatory hurdles must be addressed. 

“It’s not going to be like flipping a light switch,” Switkes said. “Just because a truck automation company pulls safety drivers out [of the cab], it doesn’t mean you can suddenly deploy those vehicles in all operating environments and in all applications.”

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