- Daimler Trucks North America last week announced it is now testing truck platooning operations on public highways in Oregon and Nevada.
- Daimler cites customer interest in its efforts to find solutions for automated and connected driving. Collaborating with fleet customers, the company is researching the effect of platooning on fleet operations such as dispatch, logistics, and driver training.
- Daimler is also working with large fleets to test the performance of digitally connected trucks in its daily transport business. The company reportedly holds a 40% market share in the North American truck market.
Platooning is likely to serve as the gateway to driverless technology. Or at least, the alternative to self-driving trucks.
Platooning is a driving practice whereby connectivity and automated driving improve safety within convoys or groups of vehicles, as well as support drivers and enhance efficiency through closer following distances. Daimler's U.S. tests show regulators and large vehicle manufacturers alike are exploring the opportunity to bring the technology to market.
In fact, the frequency of platooning road tests are increasing in the U.S., due to its perceived safety and sustainability benefits. The Department of Energy, for example, granted Purdue University a $5 million grant to study the fuel-saving opportunities gained from vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology. The Federal Highway Administration is also closely tracking the technology's development, as evidenced by its recent display of benefits via public tests of three-truck platoons.
As with other new technologies, however, regulations often stand in the way of industry adoption. But, like self-driving vehicle legislation, states seem eager to gain its benefits. Oregon and Nevada now join states like Iowa as early adopters in the U.S.