Automated vehicle systems developer Peloton Technology has landed $60 million in funding to accelerate development of its technology that coordinates truck driving controls so they can cruise in highly efficient pairs called "platoons," Peloton said Wednesday.
The deal swells Mountain View, Calif.-based Peloton's venture capital bank account to a total of $78 million and will help it roll out the market's first commercial two-truck driver-assistive platooning system later in 2017, as well as development of more advanced automation solutions to follow, Peloton said.
Peloton's technology allows truck fleets to enhance their aerodynamics and improve fuel consumption by having two trucks platoon as they cruise the highway, while human drivers handle the steering and navigation, the company says. The system links the accelerators and brake pedals of two trucks through a wireless connection, allowing the driver in the lead truck to control the acceleration and braking of the following vehicle.
Peloton will use its new funds to accelerate vehicle integration projects with automotive suppliers such as Volvo Trucks North America and with suppliers of brake systems and connected-vehicle platforms, the company said. Several U.S.-based Fortune 500 freight transportation fleets plan to trial the system within the next year, according to Peloton.
The investment was led by fleet management solutions vendor Omnitracs LLC, which first announced in February that it would partner with Peloton to offer truck platooning technology to transportation and logistics companies.
Additional funding came from big names in the technology industry, such as existing Peloton investors Intel Capital, DENSO International America, BP Ventures, Lockheed Martin, Nokia Growth Partners, UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund, Volvo Group, Sand Hill Angels, Band of Angels, and Birchmere Ventures. The deal also included new Peloton investors B37 Ventures, Mitsui USA, Okaya, Schlumberger, US Venture, and Breakthrough Fuel.
In addition to granting new funding, the deal also reinforces the link between Peloton and Omnitracs. The partners will now expand their cross-fleet platooning opportunities by integrating Peloton's system with the Omnitracs Intelligent Vehicle Gateway telematics platform and developing new joint telematics solutions, according to Peloton.
"The transportation industry is going through a massive change," Omnitracs CEO John Graham said in a release. "Macro-level trends like the Internet of Things, cognitive applications, faster delivery of goods, and new levels of customer service are at the core of our new partnership with Peloton. We want to expand the possibilities of truck automation on the nation's highways and set new standards in integrated dispatch, tracking and routing, as well as driver-facing applications to maximize and optimize the orchestration of both same-fleet and cross-fleet platooning."