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Ohio trucking company to become ‘first in U.S.’ to use platooning to haul freight for paying customers

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A Columbus, Ohio, trucking company says they are making history as the first American carrier to deploy truck platooning technology to generate revenue.

On May 17,  EASE Logistics announced that they “will soon be the first in the U.S. to deploy connected and automated trucking technology on revenue-generating routes.”

EASE is working with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and DriveOhio’s Rural Automated Driving Systems (ADS) to use truck platooning technology (meaning that a “lead” truck controls a “follower” truck) on rural Ohio roadways.

EASE says that that the platooning technology will be implemented soon in revenue-generating routes across 32 counties in Ohio’s Eastern and Southern rural regions.

EASE says that truck drivers participating in the truck platooning project have undergone a combined 400 hours of training.

“Keep an eye on out Ohio roadways for EASE’s two semi-trucks equipped with A.I. vehicle-to-vehicle communication – a leader and a follower truck aptly nicknamed ‘Tom’ and ‘Jerry’. You won’t be able to miss the bright red cab of the follower semi (‘Tom’), emblazoned with the EASE, ODOT, and DriveOhio logos. When ‘Tom’ and ‘Jerry’ are in platooning mode, the lead driver controls speed, braking, and acceleration, while the manned and connected following vehicle precisely matches the lead vehicle’s movement,” the company explained in a news release.

EASE emphasizes that both trucks will have a trained human driver in the cab and that platooning will only take place in ideal conditions, factoring in weather, traffic, and other road conditions. Once both drivers have entered platooning mode, the follower truck driver will have the ability to override and take manual control of the truck at any moment. Additionally, the platooning will automatically cease if any vehicle drives between the two trucks.

“We are excited to partner with DriveOhio, ODOT, the Transportation Research Center (TRC), and Bosch to bring innovation to our roads in Ohio,” says Peter Coratola, Jr., EASE president and CEO. “Through our dedication to innovation, we seek to pioneer new ways of delivering excellence across the supply chain. This technology is a great stepping stone toward a safer, more efficient and effective supply chain – and safer rural roads.” 

“EASE is honored to be the first in the U.S. to deploy these vehicles on revenue-generating routes,” says Abbi Failla, EASE VP of Business Operations. “Our goal is to develop, pilot, and deploy new smart technology initiatives to ensure that Ohio is the leading state in smart mobility innovation.”  

“Partnering with innovative companies like EASE to conduct real-world testing is key to unlocking the full safety and efficiency benefits that truck platooning technology can provide,” says Preeti Choudhary, DriveOhio Executive Director. The data generated by the Rural ADS project will be shared with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop national ADS policies, removing barriers to the safe integration of these technologies across the U.S.”

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