It’s hard to find truck drivers these days. In fact, there’s a huge shortage of people willing to do the job. And that’s not good news when we expect our deliveries to arrive in an Amazon Prime timeframe.
- The United States is experiencing a shortfall of truck drivers.
- Specializing in freight transportation, Peloton offers a solution with its new Automated Following system.
- In addition to addressing the driver shortage, Automated Following could improve safety and fuel economy.
Peloton (not to be confused with the exercise bike company) develops connected and automated vehicle technology for U.S. and global freight transportation. It has recently introduced a new system that could ease the driver crunch. Called Automated Following, it’s a Level 4 system that allows two trucks to platoon.
The concept of platooning
Platooning allows vehicles to drive as a group rather than individually through a coordinated exchange of data. A lead vehicle sets the speed and direction while those following take their cues from the lead and respond accordingly.
Peloton already has PlatoonPro, a Level 1 system, active on the road. However, with PlatoonPro, a driver is necessary in both the lead and follow trucks. Although the driver in the follow truck still has to steer, the lead controls the powertrain and brakes for both. For a great explanation of autonomous driving levels, click here.
Peloton’s Automated Following system makes a huge jump from Level 1 to Level 4 autonomous driving. Through its new vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V)communication link, two trucks can platoon with just one driver in the lead truck. In other words, the system will also steer the truck following, taking away the need for a second driver.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Peloton’s Automated Following system offers the possibility of doubling the amount of freight a driver can move in one trip. This will obviously help with the driver shortage and keep merchandise moving. But, there are bigger benefits baked in as well. Platooning improves safety, aerodynamics and fuel economy. And, the less energy it takes to power a truck, whether gas or electric, the less impact to the environment.