HANNOVER, Germany – WABCO is now working with California’s Peloton Technology on truck platooning, integrating vehicle-to-vehicle communication and truck control technologies to further improve safety and fuel efficiency.
The German outfit will contribute its portfolio of braking, advanced stability, and emergency braking systems, including predictive cruise control. Its OnGuardActive collision mitigation system will be a key enabler of platooned trucks. When necessary, it provides active braking to avoid or mitigate impending rear-end collisions.
Peloton will bring its proprietary platooning technologies, which are currently under testing on U.S. highways. It’s been working with North American truck makers in public-road platooning trials over the last three years, and its technology is near commercial viability, essentially waiting only for government approvals.
Jacques Esculier, WABCO chairman and CEO, declined to define the structure of the relationship with the Silicon Valley company at a press conference during the recent IAA Commercial Vehicles Show. At this stage it would appear to be an informal working relationship, not an equity transfer.
Peloton investors include Volvo, Denso, UPS, Nokia, Intel, Magna, Lockheed Martin, Castrol, and Lytx.
“We enable pairs of trucks to form close-following platoons on the open road using radar and vehicle-to-vehicle communication to link active safety systems between the trucks, dramatically reducing collision and fuel costs through accident avoidance and drafting,” explains Peloton president Josh Switkes. “Peloton charges a few cents per linked mile and the savings enable a payback of 3-4 months.”
By electronically linking two or more tractor-trailers to form virtual road-trains, platooning increases fuel economy by more than 7% — up to 4.5% for the lead truck and up to 10% for following trucks due to improved aerodynamics, according to independent evaluation by the North American Council on Freight Efficiency and further validation by the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Transportation.
Peloton’s systems enable tractor-trailers to accelerate and brake together and safely operate at closer distances to gain aerodynamic efficiencies. Peloton’s NetworkOperationsCenter supervises the ‘joined’ trucks, allowing platooning only where, when, and how it’s safe to do so.
Peloton’s system also processes real-time data gathered from sensors linked to other vehicle active safety and automation systems, including the OnGuard emergency braking system.
Separately, WABCO has also joined forces with Mobileye, which specializes in advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving technologies. They intend to develop truck systems that will combine Mobileye’s vision system and mapping technology with control and actuation technologies from WABCO, including active steering control.
WABCO also reports that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an unnamed global tier-one automotive industry supplier headquartered in Asia to bring active steering and other technologies to the commercial industry through a new joint venture. It’s intended that the new business will develop, manufacture, and sell electronically controlled active-steering systems for the global truck and bus market.
The JV will leverage WABCO’s braking, vehicle control, and advanced driver assistance systems expertise with its partner’s “world class” steering system technology and capabilities. The integration, the partners say, will result in significant innovation for advanced safety-enabling solutions that support automated driving through intelligent control of both the longitudinal and lateral movements of vehicles.
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