Two-truck platoons have the potential to reduce fuel consumption by about 4%, averaged across both vehicles, according to a report by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE).
As reported by Truck News, the reviewed previous testing and then adjusted for on-track test results which took account real-world, on-road realities such as traffic congestion and realistic times the trucks would be able to remain in formation (about 75% of the time). Track testing has shown the lead truck reducing fuel consumption by 4% while the following truck saves 10%. with a following distance of 40-50 feet.
“What we wanted to do was understand the early stages of a path towards more automation in trucking,” NACFE’s Mike Roeth stated in the report. “We see platooning being the next logical automation, and on down the line, lane-keeping and other technologies for assisting drivers and then finally self-driving or autonomous trucks either as part of a platoon or by themselves.”
Roeth added platooning does not imply driverless trucks, which is not fully understood today.
“Two-truck platooning is not fully autonomous or driverless,” Roeth said. “It’s being improperly grouped with that concept.”
Though platooning is not yet in use, many of the technologies that will enable it are already available, Roeth pointed out.
“The bulk of the required technology is currently available and being purchased by many fleets,” he said, referencing collision mitigation systems and in-cab cameras. “
You can download the full report here.