Transportation and logistics companies could soon have access to truck "platooning" technology following an announcement today that fleet management services provider Omnitracs LLC has partnered with automated vehicle systems developer Peloton Technology.
Through platooning technology, the accelerators and brake pedals of two trucks—one leading the other—are linked via wireless technology, enabling an automated forward flow and braking. The lead vehicle controls acceleration and braking, while each truck is steered by human drivers. Mountain View, Calif.-based Peloton said the technology enhances aerodynamics and fuel consumption because the vehicles can use their natural motion to effectively "draft" off each other.
The technology is expected to be operational later this year, according to Peloton.
Under the agreement with Dallas-based Omnitracs, Peloton will help to roll out its automated vehicle technology to Omnitracs customers. In turn, Omnitracs will offer access to its user base, offering the technology for scheduled routes by large fleets as well as for ad-hoc platoons of trucks from different fleets, Omnitracs said in a statement. Omnitracs will use its routing and dispatch applications to find matching opportunities for inter-fleet platooning, the company said.
Peloton is also working with Memphis-based transport and logistics giant FedEx Corp. on a plan to bring this automated vehicle technology to the carrier's vast fleet, Peloton said last week.
In Peloton's system, the driver of each truck controls the steering while the platooning system coordinates the speed and the distance between the trucks. The technology synchronizes braking and acceleration between pairs of trucks by using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, while controlling safety through radar-based collision avoidance systems. Peloton will begin filling pre-orders of its platooning product for Class 8 trucks in 2017.