Volvo Trucks and Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH) at the University of California, Berkeley recently completed a successful demonstration of partially automated truck platooning. Three Volvo VNL 670 model tractors hauled cargo containers at the Los Angeles Port complex and along Interstate 110, highlighting for public officials and other stakeholders the technology’s potential for improving highway safety, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing the capacity of transportation systems.
In simulated ‘real world’ conditions the three Volvo VNL tractors traveled at speeds of 55 miles per hour while keeping 50 feet apart, a closer distance than usual for on-highway tractors. Forward-looking sensors and vehicle-to-vehicle communication helped maintain speed and spacing without driver intervention. Staged and unplanned vehicle cut-ins demonstrated how the technology handles common traffic situations. Magnus Koeck, Volvo Trucks Vice President of Marketing and Brand Management, said that:
“Truck platooning can benefit freight companies and professional drivers alike through safer, more fuel-efficient operations. 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 utilisation, thereby helping to alleviate traffic congestion.”