The future of trucking may be coming sooner than many expected.
According to ABI, 7.7 million platoon fleets are expected to hit the road in 2025.
“Truck platoons are the most imminently anticipated application of highly automated driving in commercial vehicles,” ABI states.
Platooning is when two trucks drive 30-feet apart. The trucks use a technology similar to Wi-Fi to exchange acceleration and braking information. Platooning allows trucks to basically draft one another, therefore reducing wind and cutting down on fuel consumption.
Currently, the lead platoon driver is at the back of the fleet, however, further platoon systems will put the driver in the lead vehicle. The lead driver will in sole control of all the vehicles in the convoy, “allowing following drivers to rest, or eliminating the need for them altogether,” ABI states.
ABI says that the platoon system is a “fusion of forward-looking radar and V2V communication enable fleets of trucks to safely maneuver with a short distance between vehicles.”
One of the benefits of platooning is fuel efficiency. Truck platooning reduces drag and saves an estimated 5 to 10% in fuel consumption.
“With most fleet operators attributing some 30 to 40% of their operating costs to fuel expenditure, the savings presented by platooning are significant,” comments James Hodgson, Research Analyst, ABI Research.
“The emerging market for platooning is promising; in no small part due to its relevance across a considerable spectrum of vehicle automation. The premise stretches all the way from a platoon comprised of two vehicles whose drivers seek to narrow the interval between them in a safe manner, through to scenarios which involve more vehicles than they do drivers,” Hodgson explains.