Platooning technology should make trucking safer and more efficient, but it requires strangers on the road to buy in and join the ride. Deciding ‘who gets what’ is proving a complex discussion, and particularly when different brands and systems are in the mix.
Platooning is often presented as a futuristic concept, but the idea can be traced back to road cycling techniques. As part of a peloton, cyclists group together to create a slipstream for following riders. Those at the front of the pack put in the hard work, expending the most energy and riding into thick ‘dirty’ air. Those behind benefit from the thin ‘clean’ air, which is less draining to cycle in. The same tactics are used in most forms of motor racing like NASCAR or Formula 1 to gain an aerodynamic advantage. For trucking, it is primarily about saving fuel.
However, translating this slipstreaming strategy into a heavy truck scenario is more complex than simply finding a group of trucks and connecting them….