Daimler hits brakes on platooning to focus on automation

Daimler Trucks plans to focus its attention on automated driving and, as a result, plans to pause testing of truck platooning the company announced Monday in Las Vegas during the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

In reassessing its work on truck platooning — a practice the company has tested for several years and many thousand miles in the U.S. — the German truck maker said Monday test results have shown that fuel savings even in perfect platooning conditions are less than expected, adding those savings further diminish when the platoon disconnects and the trucks must accelerate to reconnect.

Daimler Truck & Bus boss Martin Daum says analysis currently shows no business case for platooning in U.S. long-haul applications with new, highly aerodynamic trucks.

“The technology we would have to put in does not quantify the savings,” Daum says.

The company plans to reroute those resources and invest approximately $570 million over the coming years in a global push to bring highly automated trucks (SAE level 4) to the road within the next decade.

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