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Tailgating on purpose: Truck Platooning

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Errol V.'s Comment
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Coming soon? A system that makes one truck tailgate another to save on fuel costs.

Article: Peloton, Omnitracs partner on truck 'platooning' technology

Platooning_1_straightened_1-e14813104497Video by Freightliner

I found that Brett already commented on platooning 6 months ago

Miss Miyoshi's Comment
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Interesting that the company name is Peloton. A peloton is the main group of cyclists in bicycle racing. The peloton basically is the support team for the lead cyclist of the team. He will often ride in the middle of the peloton as a way to conserve energy until it's his time to break away from the pack. If you watch something like the Tour de France or Giro d'Italia you can see how this works.

Names of companies that have meaning like this always intrigues me. There is a cyber security company that deals mainly with the government called Palantir. If you're a LotR fan, you'll understand why this made me chuckle when I first saw it.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Yeah, this is one of the most dangerous ideas I've seen in a long time. We're going to have trucks start tailgating each other to save a single digit percentage on fuel? Seriously? And we're going to rely on technology to 'keep us safe'? Cuz, you know, technology never fails us, right?

To me this idea is dumb beyond words. The risk/reward ratio is ludicrous. I'm sure this idea managed to get some funding for a few college professors to continue their research on aerodynamics, but in the real world this idea is nowhere near making any sort of sense.

slow roller's Comment
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Yeah, this is one of the most dangerous ideas I've seen in a long time. We're going to have trucks start tailgating each other to save a single digit percentage on fuel? Seriously? And we're going to rely on technology to 'keep us safe'? Cuz, you know, technology never fails us, right?

To me this idea is dumb beyond words. The risk/reward ratio is ludicrous. I'm sure this idea managed to get some funding for a few college professors to continue their research on aerodynamics, but in the real world this idea is nowhere near making any sort of sense.

I agree 100 % that this tailgating or wind drafting may work well in NASCAR racing but using this to save fuel by adding 1/10 mpg with big rigs is insane.

Tractor Man's Comment
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The Truck in the front controls the accelerator and brakes for the truck/ trucks in the back. Who in the hell would volunteer to "Drive" one of the rear Vehicles. Stupid beyond words!!

confused.gifwtf.gif

Patrick C.'s Comment
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Heck, I have done crazier things in my lifetime. Sign me up, lol. shocked.pngsmile.gif

Bud A.'s Comment
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Reduced fuel consumption is one of the selling points for self-driving trucks, and many articles on self-driving trucks (and sometimes cars) include this idea of platooning. According to the proponents, not only does it save fuel, it increases highway capacity and reduces highway congestion and commute times. Other supposed benefits include lower labor costs, fewer accidents, better average delivery time, higher on-time rates, reduced maintenance costs, etc.

There is very big money behind this push for self-driving vehicles, and lots of vehicle manufacturers are working on prototypes. Various governments are falling over themselves to accommodate the testing of this new technology. Vehicle manufacturers see an opportunity for a competitive advantage and increased sales, and companies with high logistics demand see it as a way to dramatically improve their margins by reducing shipping costs.

Keep in mind that articles and stories and videos of this stuff are all designed to convince us that this is 1) a great thing and 2) inevitable. Then there will be a period of manufactured public debate of the pros and cons that ends with "We have to at least give it a try," followed a little later by "You have to be crazy to be against it!" I think there will be a steady stream of these kinds of stories for the foreseeable future. It has already moved from Popular Mechanics to mainstream news outlets. When you see self-driving vehicles featured in movies, you'll know they're within a year of being ready to mass produce them.

So, while we all think it's crazy, and see it (rightly) as a threat to our jobs, there are tens of thousands of people working right now to make it happen sooner rather than later. I don't want it to happen, but I've been around long enough to see that this time might be different than the old flying car stories I remember from childhood. I don't know when it will happen, but the folks in Silicon Valley think it will be reality within 10 years.

Errol V.'s Comment
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The Truck in the front controls the accelerator and brakes for the truck/ trucks in the back. Who in the hell would volunteer to "Drive" one of the rear Vehicles. Stupid beyond words!!

confused.gifwtf.gif

... and the scenery never changes.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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been around long enough to see that this time might be different than the old flying car stories I remember from childhood

I was just going to ask you what you think is different about the self-driving truck hype than we've heard for decades about robots and flying cars and going to Mars and holograms and virtual reality?

Take electric cars for example. When do you think this was from?

The electric automobile is in its heyday. Of the 4,192 cars produced in the United States 28 percent are powered by electricity, and electric autos represent about one-third of all cars found on the roads of New York City, Boston, and Chicago.

How about 1900! Yes, that's right - well over 100 years ago electric cars dominated. In 2017 I'm driving a 355 HP gas-burning V8 engine.

By now robots were supposed to be running everything, artificial intelligence was supposed to be doing all the thinking, holograms would eliminate the need to travel, flying cars would dominate the skies, we were going to have colonies on Mars, and a trillion other things that never happened.

I'll tell you what has happened recently though - a car with self-driving features failed to see a tractor trailer that blocked the entire roadway perpendicular to the direction of travel of the car. The car slammed straight into the side of it, killing the passenger.

You don't determine where technology stands by its features. You determine where it stands by its failures. Self-driving software failed to see a 70 foot long, 13 1/2 foot high wall completely across the highway and drove straight into it and killed someone. That's where self-driving technology is today. It's a foolish and ridiculous idea to think you're going to retrofit current vehicles with software that's going to navigate today's current highway system. It's a pipe dream.

A lot of college professors and research scientists are making a fat living off of grant money and "hope money" donated to research and development for this technolgy, and in fact most of the marketing you're hearing was created to provoke higher levels of R&D funding.

I see drones having a much more immediate and pronounced impact on the world than self-driving cars.

Bud A.'s Comment
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I'm really not trying to be Debbie Downer here, and obviously I don't know when or even if they'll make this happen. I have watched tech trends for a long time, and this time there seems to be a lot of energy going into making this happen from big, established players like Ford, Benz, Volvo, Google and others. They have money, they have influence with governments, and they have well-established media machines to move public opinion.

It's not going to happen this year, it may not happen in five or even ten years (though that is the goal of these big players that is sometimes mentioned), but I like to stay aware of trends that can affect me, and this is one that could directly affect me.

Does it mean that I would say to someone in their 20s or 30s that they should find a different career? No! Driving pays well right now, and having that background might give you a real competitive advantage if the industry ever gets to the point where there are no humans inside the vehicles (many years from now, if ever). It's just good to have the information about where your industry is going, whether you're a truck driver or a software engineer or a doctor or a firefighter.

Here are some recent platooning articles, some from more specialized tech journals but also including more mainstream news outlets.

Here's one from 2013:

Platooning: The future of freeways is lining up

The first platooning test I remember reading about:

Daimler Tests Self-Driving Truck Platoon in Live Traffic

Three reports on the same European test last April:

Convoy of self-driving trucks completes first European cross-border trip

Six Platoons Of Self-Driving Trucks Just Drove Thousands Of Kilometers Across Europe

Self-Driving Truck Convoy Completes European Road Trip

Self-driving vehicles are going to make everything better!

Self-Driving Technology To Reduce Traffic, Improve Cities

Reports on the regulatory changes needed to make it happen:

Platoons of self-driving trucks are one rule change away from being legal in the UK

"Platooning" can cut emissions by 10 percent. Now we just need to make it legal.

Forgot to mention that this will also "solve" the alleged driver shortage.

When truck drivers tailgating is actually a good thing

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