Automated truck platoons to traverse Alberta highway

by Today's Trucking

Semi-trucks fitted with artificial intelligence technology will soon roll on Alberta’s Queen Elizabeth II Highway, in a test project funded by the Government of Canada.

Driver-assist technology will allow close-proximity following in platoon formation, reducing drag and increasing fuel efficiency. Other sensors, radar and camera technology will send information between trucks to manage safety and active braking systems, responding to sudden deceleration by the lead vehicle without human error like driver distraction.

“Daisy”, above, and “Lily”, Peterbilt 579, Class 8 heavy duty trucks supplied by Pronto, feature Society of Automated Engineers Level 2 automation. Bison Transport drivers hauling trailers will operate the vehicles. (Photo: Pronto)

The project includes ensuring platooning technology is tested for the safety of vehicle operators as well as all road users. Platooning can be a safe, efficient way to get Albertans the necessities they need every day.

“Innovation in the commercial transportation industry is being driven by technology. This program is critical to economic growth and competitiveness and improves safety and efficiency across the supply chain,” says Chris Nash, president of the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA).

“Commercial trucking is essential to Alberta’s economy and we’re proud to trial new ways to get our goods to market. Supporting innovative projects like truck platooning will give us a better understanding of the safety and reliability of emerging technologies as well as their future potential on our highways,” says Ric McIver, Alberta’s minister of transportation.

Alberta Transportation has reviewed the proposed test project and supports its safe operation on the major transportation corridor between Edmonton and Calgary.

AMTA is leading the project which is formally called the Cooperative Truck Platooning System (CTPS). The project is funded by Transport Canada and involves industry and research partnerships with Bison Transport, Pronto, the University of Alberta, Solaris Fatigue Management, Tantus and support from Alberta. CTPS began on March 1 and will run until June 2022.

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  • Well that should be entertaining!!! I sure hope they have multiple camera’s!!! They are going to need them!!

    • Yes Greg… entertaining is almost an understatement. Should we meet up somewhere with our lawn chairs and lunch to enjoy the entertainment?

  • Are you kidding me?!! What could possibly go wrong with this? The QE2 Highway is THE MAJOR ROUTE between Alberta’s two biggest cities & it’s a gong show every day, in either direction. Now the bright ones in Ottawa want to test a friggin’ TRAIN on one of our major highways. Why not test this on the Trans Canada all the way across the country, so every Province can share in the carnage that will ensue? Drivers on any major highway are crazy enough on a day that ends in Y. Apparently the Alberta RCMP don’t have enough carnage to deal with every day all along the QE2. Wait a minute…. a better idea would be in BC on the Coquihalla with some mountain driving! BISON drivers like racing on the Coq and they’re the fastest on the road, especially with super B’s or turnpikes. That would be really entertaining. Putting Artificial Intelligence on the roads instead of well seasoned drivers is by far the most un-educated idea I have ever heard in my life. We already have enough Artificial Human Intelligence driving on our roads. AND the AI techs can’t even make a little robotic vacuum cleaner that can fully operate by itself.

  • Disgraceful that we as drivers are heping with this technology to then have our jobs taken away.shows how much we are thought of .why couldn’t they expand the railway instead

  • Economic growth for billionaires.
    Automation of jobs is against people’s best interests but “economic growth” for billionaires is so important because we all know how they like to share the wealth.

  • I truly am skeptical of the safety of this venture, but I do see great potential,
    One question remains is how do you manage city driving?
    Or is there a staging area outside the city limits.

  • What will happen when a private vehicle tries to cut into the platoon lines?
    What is the projected following distance between trucks, and how many trucks in a platoon?