Peloton Technology logged more than 1,000 miles in two Peloton-equipped Volvo VNL670 Class 8 trucks during the State of Florida’s Driver-Assistive Truck Platooning Pilot Project on the Florida Turnpike.
Held in collaboration with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the demonstration used advanced driver-assistance systems provided by Peloton Technology, including linked collision avoidance capability. The two trucks traveled at a separation distance of approximately 65 feet, with professional drivers remaining fully in command of each truck at all times.
Working together using this technology, Peloton co-founder and Vice President of External Affairs Steve Boyd says the two drivers in the demonstration benefited from connected safety systems and enhanced driver-to-driver communication while achieving high levels of aerodynamic fuel savings.
“The demonstrations this week were very successful, and we look forward to working with the Florida transportation agencies, the Florida Trucking Association, major fleets and others as we bring this safety and efficiency technology to the Sunshine State,” he adds. “We want to thank the Governor, Legislature and State agencies for their leadership in allowing for the demonstration and advancement of innovative technologies that can bring enhanced safety, efficiency and mobility to both Florida and the nation.”
With its economic, environmental and mobility benefits, Tom Byron, assistant secretary of strategic development for the Florida Department of Transportation, says vehicle platooning offers a competitive advantage for the state.
“We welcome this and other opportunities to test connected vehicle systems and other advanced transportation concepts that will improve roadway safety and bring new economic opportunities to the region.”
Across the U.S., nine states have confirmed allowance for commercial deployment of driver- assistive truck platooning: Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Additional states are considering confirming allowance in 2018. This week’s successful truck platooning demonstrations set the stage for the State of Florida to consider joining others in allowing full commercial deployment.
Peloton’s driver-assistive system enhances driver teamwork by enabling two individual drivers to form a two-truck platoon under appropriate highway conditions. Unlike highly automated vehicles, Peloton’s system requires drivers of each truck to be in full control of steering and remain actively engaged in driving. The system links the active safety systems of Class 8 trucks, enabling pairs of trucks to coordinate their speeds and maintain a safe, aerodynamic following distance. For drivers, the system has similarities to Adaptive Cruise Control, radar-enhanced cruise control which is in use today in hundreds of thousands of cars and trucks. In normal operations today, trucks have been found to travel at relatively close following distances, with one USDOT study showing an average following distance of 170 feet. In this real-world environment, Peloton’s systems help drivers team up, operate
Looking ahead to 2018, Peloton Technology says it will continue its work with Florida transportation leaders on the path to bringing its safety and efficiency solution into commercial operation in the state.