Daimler Trucks tests truck platooning on public highways in the US

Sep 25, 2017   Supply Chain

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) drives digitally connected trucks on selected highways in Oregon and Nevada, promoting connectivity and automated driving as improving safety in truck platoons, supporting drivers and enhancing efficiency.

Having started with successful trials on Daimler Trucks North America's proving ground in Madras, Oregon, DTNA has received the appropriate permission from the regional regulatory body Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). In a first step called "pairing", Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) tests its platooning technology in two connected Freightliner New Cascadia truck trailer combinations.

DTNA benefits from proven systems which have successfully been operated by Mercedes-Benz trucks like in the European Truck Platooning Challenge 2016. With this initiative Daimler Trucks North America is reacting to an increasing customer interest in solutions for automated and connected driving in commercial transport. In a joint effort with fleet customers DTNA is working to understand how platooning technology may impact fleet operations (e.g. dispatch, logistics, driver training) and it will test digitally connected trucks in every day transport business.

Daimler Trucks launches platooning technology in the US
Around the globe Daimler Trucks has already connected around 500,000 trucks to the internet of things – more than any other manufacturer. To digitally connect its Freightliner New Cascadia in the current tests in the US, Daimler combines connectivity with its experience in automated driving. Wi-Fi-based vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) interacts with Freightliners Detroit Assurance 4.0 driver assistance systems featuring Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Assist and Active Brake Assist 4. This technology offers fuel savings to the customer when two or more Freightliner trucks closely follow each other, lowering aerodynamic drag and adding safety, because V2V reaction times have dropped to about 0.2 or 0.3 seconds – while humans normally can respond not faster than one second.

Human errors cause 94% of the crashes on the road, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In the future automated and connected braking between lead vehicle and follower will prevent accidents.

When it comes to platooning, the trucking industry in the US in not only talking about technology, but also, as in Europe, about regulatory issues. When the legal framework is set, Daimler Trucks customers will be able to operate their vehicles in platooning mode.

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