In today’s tough business world where everyone is trying to become more efficient, even cutting costs on fuel expenses is an area that can be addressed.
In a demonstration last month, Daimler Trucks showed how a truck platoon can help save fuel over the long haul.
The demonstration, held on the Autobahn A52 near Dusseldorf, showcased three Mercedes-Benz trucks driven separately lined as if in a straight line. Daimler showcased its Highway Pilot Connect system which allows each truck to be operated autonomously, but connect to each other in a platoon formation one after another.
According to tests, the platoon formation helps save an average of seven percent on fuel for all the trucks. The lead truck saves roughly two percent while the middle saves 11 percent and the trailing truck of the trio would save nine percent.
The initiation of the system begins with the lead truck using the Highway Pilot Connect system to signal an intention to start such a platoon system. After getting some responses, the vehicles then fall into place within 15 meters of one another and lets the Highway Pilot Connect system take care of the steering of the vehicles. Should other motor vehicles get between them during the platoon system, then the other vehicles back off for a time and then re-establishes the line.
In addition to saving on fuel costs, the platoon system actually makes it quicker for the trucks to react to a situation requiring braking. Studies show that it would take 1.4 seconds for a human driver to start braking at a rate of 80 kilometers per hour. That would be a distance of 30 meters before braking begins. With the Highway Pilot Connect in a platoon setting, the system starts braking at 0.1 seconds when the distance covered is only 2.2 meters.
A third benefit toward the platoon system is that it would take up less space on the road. Instead of 150 meters of space, three trucks lined up would only need 80 meters.
The viewing was part of the “Shaping Future Transportation” connectivity event which brought in over 300 media members from 36 different countries.
The demonstration has been shown in Nevada though it isn’t certain that the system will come to the United States.
Regardless, Daimler announced a massive $500 million euros investment into the connectivity platoon system by the year 2020.