Peloton's Truck Platooning Technology | Semi Truck Repair
What do you get when you cross a Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering and an obsession with safety and efficiency involving the transportation industry?
A man driven (pun intended) to create a semi-autonomous vehicle system that could change the way OTR fleets operate in the future.
Dr. Josh Switkes, founder and CEO of Peloton Technology, Inc. and his team have developed a system that could potentially prevent a large number of accidents involving heavy trucks, and at the same time save the trucking industry 6 billion dollars in fuel annually.
“The trucking industry is a 650 billion dollar/year industry. Of that 650 billion dollars, 48 billion is spent due to accidents, and 100 billion is spent on fuel. When all is said and done, an “average” fleet owner is only seeing a 3% net profit return come year end,” Switkes mentioned in a recent webinar about the development of his product. Based on his projections, Peloton’s technologies would actually double the net profits fleets see from year to year.
The technology is first set to be used between trucks in the same fleet, but theoretically could be used across any fleets that share the same device. The trucks are equipped with systems similar to adaptive cruise control and intelligent braking and wirelessly link up at 36 feet apart at speeds around 64 mph. (Closer and faster than is what generally considered “safe.”)
Since the trucks are equipped with platooning technology, whatever the front truck does–so then does the second truck–AND faster than a human could actually react. (Switkes noted a human’s average reaction time between 1-2 seconds and the reaction time of this technology at 10 milliseconds. Crazy, right?)
It’s important to note that Pelotons tool wouldn’t make trucking completely autonomous. Drivers still maintain steering control of the vehicles and actively watch the road. Additionally, the front truck has a “rearview camera” mounted on the windshield showing the truck behind it; and the truck following – a camera showing the road ahead of the lead vehicle – so both drivers are well aware of what’s in front and behind of their platoon.
Also, because of the distance that the second truck in the platoon is following at, the amount of aerodynamic drag is greatly reduced, increasing the second trucks fuel efficiency by a whopping 10%. If you’re a fleet owner and that doesn’t excite you, we don’t know what will. In tests with the trucking company CR England, a 4.5% improvement in fuel economy was seen in the lead truck and a 10% in the trailing truck. (Which could obviously be alternated to maximize the fuel savings equally between both trucks.) It’s crazy/innovative/exciting stuff they’re working on. We’ll be waiting and watching to see what they do next.
Take a peek at their video…