Hyundai has successfully demonstrated the first platooning of its autonomous trailer trucks. The demonstration was conducted on a Korean highway specifically dedicated to autonomous driving research.
- Hyundai has successfully platooned its autonomous trailer trucks.
- The demonstration was conducted on a autonomous driving research highway.
- Platoon mode maintains driving distance and even manages emergency stops.
Yeoju Smart Highway is a 7.7-kilometer stretch of road in the central region expressway. It was established by the Korean government to promote autonomous driving research. The constant flow of autonomous vehicles traveling this road makes it quite similar to actual highway driving.
While in platoon mode, no driver input is required. (Photo: Hyundai)
Follow the leader
Autonomous platooning lets trucks closely follow each other without driver input, which reduces driver fatigue. Hyundai conducted its platooning demonstration with two trailer-connected Xcient trucks. The process starts when the following truck activates platoon mode. This keeps a set distance of 16.7 meters between it and the lead vehicle.
As the lead truck slows and accelerates, the following truck adjusts to maintain the set distance without input from the driver. Engaging platoon mode also activates lane keeping technology, so the driver does not need to manage the steering wheel.
If the lead truck makes an emergency stop, the following truck matches that sudden change in speed. It can even handle other cars cutting between the two trucks by extending the gap to 25 meters to accommodate the intruding vehicle.
The demonstration also involved real-time video sharing through V2V (vehicle to vehicle) technology with front-facing video from the lead vehicle shared with the following vehicle. This helps the following driver see the road ahead rather than having their view blocked by the leading truck.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Platooning offers multiple benefits. It reduces air resistance for improved fuel economy and lower emissions making it eco-friendly. It also reduces driver fatigue potentially making drivers of commercial vehicles safer. It’s a cost-effective solution that stands to increase the efficiency of the commercial trucking industry.