Volvo demonstrates on-highway truck platooning in California
Volvo Trucks announced Monday it completed a successful demonstration of a partially automated truck platoon in California, leveraging Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control technology to run a three-truck platoon from the Port of Los Angeles along Interstate 110.
The three Volvo VNL 670 model tractors hauled cargo containers in simulated real-world conditions, Volvo says, traveling at speeds of 55 mph while maintaining a 50-foot following distance — closer than usual for most on-highway tractor-trailers.
Volvo, who began exploring platooning technology via a partnership with Peleton in April 2015, says the recent platooning demonstration was conducted with Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology at the University of California-Berkley.
Forward-looking sensors and vehicle-to-vehicle communication helped maintain speed and spacing without driver intervention, Volvo says. Staged and unplanned vehicle cut-ins also occurred, allowing the platoon to handle common traffic situations.
The Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC) used in the demonstration is a more advanced system than the adaptive cruise control tech available in most tractors today.
The system allows trucks to enter into and hold platoons. Volvo notes the system is meant to aid drivers, not replace them.
“Truck platooning can benefit freight companies and professional drivers alike through safer, more fuel-efficient operations,” said Magnus Koeck, Volvo Trucks vice president of marketing and brand management. “Vehicle-to-vehicle communication is pivotal for platooning systems; it helps reduce the reaction time for braking and enables vehicles to follow closer. Reducing the traveling distance between vehicles not only reduces the aerodynamic drag, but also allows for greater highway utilization, thereby helping to alleviate traffic congestion.”
Below are more benefits of truck platooning according to Volvo trucks:
Platooning results in a lower fuel consumption, as the trucks drive closer together at a constant speed, with less braking and accelerating.
Truck platooning has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 10%.
Truck platooning is part of the industry’s integrated approach to further reducing CO2 emissions. This approach looks at all elements that affect emissions during the use of a truck. Besides the vehicle itself, trailer design, alternative fuels, logistics, infrastructure and ITS technology (such as platooning) all play a decisive role in bringing down CO2 emissions.
With conventional trucks, critical risk factors are driver reaction time and concentration. Indeed, some 90% of all traffic accidents are due to human error.
Truck platooning helps improve safety. With connected driving, braking is automatic with virtually zero reaction time compared to human breaking.
Allowing for more predictive driving of trucks on the road, platooning also improves safety for other road users.
Truck platooning optimises transport by using roads more effectively, helping deliver goods faster and reducing traffic jams.
It therefore enables the supply chain and transport system to be optimised.
Platooning reduces congestion by improving traffic flows and reducing tail-backs.