Daimler is testing connected trucks in so-called platooning operations on public roads in the U.S. This was announced during the North American Commercial Vehicle Show taking place this week in Atlanta. In truck platooning, connectivity and automated driving improve safety within the vehicle convoys, supporting drivers and enhancing efficiency through closer distances between the connected trucks.
Having started with successful trials on Daimler Trucks North Apmerica’s proving ground in Madras, Oregon, DTNA has received the appropriate permission from the regional regulatory body Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). In a first step called “pairing,” Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) tests its platooning technology in two connected Freightliner New Cascadia truck-trailer combinations.
DTNA benefits from proven systems that have successfully been operated by Mercedes-Benz trucks like in the European Truck Platooning Challenge 2016. With this initiative, Daimler Trucks North America is reacting to an increasing customer interest in solutions for automated and connected driving in commercial transport. In a joint effort with fleet customers DTNA is working to understand how platooning technology may impact fleet operations (e.g., dispatch, logistics, driver training). In a joint effort with large fleet customers, DTNA will digitally test connected trucks in everyday transport business.
Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, said, “We see growing customer interest in platooning. This technology stands for more efficiency and safety. Platooning technology is not meant to replace drivers – it’s designed to help drivers. When the world is ready for platooning, DTNA will have a proven solution. Right now, we are driving Freightliners in platoons every day. I have personally driven one of our trucks in a connected mode. My experience has been impressive.”
Daimler Trucks is pioneering technologies on the fields of automated, connected and electrified driving with its truck brands Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner and FUSO. Around the globe Daimler Trucks has already connected around 500,000 trucks to the Internet of Things. To digitally connect its Freightliner New Cascadias in the current tests in the U.S., Daimler combines connectivity with its experience in automated driving. WiFi-based vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) interacts with Freightliners Detroit Assurance 4.0 driver assistance systems featuring adaptive cruise control, lane departure assist and active brake assist 4. These technologies offers fuel savings to the customer when two or more Freightliner trucks closely follow each other, lowering aerodynamic drag and adding safety, because V2V reaction times have dropped to about 0.2 or 0.3 seconds – while humans normally can respond not faster than one second. Human errors cause 94 percent of the crashes on the road, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.