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2/10/2017 4:03:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Connected Vehicles, Platooning Coming Into Focus

Meritor Wabco

This story appears in the February 6 print edition of iTECH, a supplement to Transport Topics.

WASHINGTON — Connected vehicles and platooning are two of the major technological developments coming soon to trucking, and manufacturers, fleets, regulators and academics are wrestling with the details now.

Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-­infrastructure systems, also known as V2V and V2I, are moving toward the nation’s highways because of a recent proposed federal rule for cars and light trucks and some guidance that is expected, panelists said here Jan. 10 during the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting. The same group also looked at developments in platooning.

Both technologies use active safety systems from suppliers such as Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and Meritor Wabco as a basis. There was a consensus among speakers that driverless trucks on U.S. highways are not likely soon.

BEST OF FEBRUARY iTECH: More stories, columns

“Most of [the current technology] was developed for the convenience of the driver and for safety. We’re looking for ways to relax the driver, not replace him,” said Susan Alt, a senior vice president for Volvo Group North America, which manufactures Volvo and Mack Trucks.

“Let us never again describe these as driverless vehicles,” said Daniel Murray, vice president of the American Transportation Research Institute, or ATRI. Trucks that offer autonomous driver assistance are not the same as driverless, he said.

Asked about following vehicles in platoons and if they will be driverless, Murray replied, “Not in my lifetime. … I don’t think we want to take the drivers out of the last trucks.”

Steve Boyd, a vice president and co-founder of Peloton Technology, reiterated his company’s projection that its personnel will be conducting platoon tests with fleets this year. While he offered no details on the tests, he did summarize the differences between what platooning will look like at first versus what it could be in the future.

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By Jonathan S. Reiskin
Associate News Editor

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