BERKELEY, Calif. — Volvo Trucks and Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH) recently completed its 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. The VNL trucks traveled at 55 mph while keeping 50 feet apart. Forward-facing sensors and vehicle-to-vehicle communication helped maintain the speed and spacing without driver intervention.
Volvo says the trip showed public officials and other stakeholders the technology’s potential for improving highway safety, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing the capacity of transportation systems.
“Truck platooning can benefit freight companies and professional drivers alike through safer, more fuel-efficient operations,” said Magnus Koeck, Volvo Trucks vice-president of marketing and brand management. “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 utilization, thereby helping to alleviate traffic congestion.”
According to both groups, the demonstration was made possible by Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control technology (CACC).
CACC technology is an enhancement to the current Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) technology that enables closer and more accurate control of the gap between trucks with increased safety. The advanced technology, which makes platooning possible, is meant to serve as an aid, not a replacement for skilled professional truck drivers. Volvo stressed. Benefits of platooning through CACC include faster responses to hard braking while maintaining safety, superior longitudinal control while following in a lane, reduced emissions, and improved traffic flow.
The CACC technology being developed in conjunction with PATH has been sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration Advanced Research Program and Caltrans.