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Self-driving truck platoons to haul freight between Ohio and Indiana later this year

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Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. announced plans to deploy self-driving truck platoons to haul customer freight between Ohio and Indiana later this year.

On March 12, San Diego-headquartered defense and security technology company Kratos announced plans to deploy self-driving Class 8 tractor trailers in a Leader Follower Platoon to haul freight for customers along a major freight corridor between Ohio and Indiana later this year.

The Leader Follower Platoon system involves the use of a qualified truck driver in the leader truck that guides the follower truck with self-driving technology. Kratos plans to use a “safety rider” in the follower truck who can manually take over operations if needed.

“…the Leader Follower Platoon will be a first-of-its kind deployment to address driver shortage impacts by enabling business continuity when qualified drivers are unavailable,” Kratos said.

Kratos says that it will partner with EASE Logistics to access equipment and drivers. The company will retro-fit EASE trucks with self-driving technology to allow for platooning operations.

The companies plan to deploy the Leader Follower Platoon system to haul freight for customers in 53-foot dry van trailers on short-haul routes for round-trip totals of 450 to 500 miles.

Kratos says that the technology that allows for the Leader Follower Platoons was initially developed for the U.S. Department of Defense.

“Kratos is excited to team with EASE Logistics to support this landmark Leader Follower Platoon deployment establishing the baseline for how driverless technology can be deployed in a game-changing configuration. The Leader Follower Platoon is a great adaptation of driverless vehicle technology that maintains driver jobs by pairing a human-driven truck with a self-driving follower truck to maintain or increase haul capacity depending on the available driver pool. Supply chain security is national security and using the Kratos Leader Follower Platoon is a solution that can strengthen a company’s ability to maintain jobs and secure supply chain activity as a win-win,” said Maynard Factor, VP of Business Development for the Kratos Unmanned Systems Division.

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