Volvo Trucks North America announced today the successful on-highway demonstration of its truck platooning technology.
The company has been working closely with FedEx and the North Carolina Turnpike Authority (NCTA) to expand on-highway operations of Volvo’s Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC) (earlier post) in the United States on N.C. 540, the Triangle Expressway. This marks the first public on-highway showcase of platooning technology between a major truck manufacturer and a transportation company in the US.
The “platoon” consisted of three trained, professional truck drivers in Volvo VNL tractors, each pulling double 28-foot trailers. Through CACC, a wireless vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology, the tractors and trailers remained in constant communication.
The tractors and trailers traveled at speeds of up to 62 mph while keeping a time gap of 1.5 seconds, maintaining a closer distance than what is typical for on-highway tractors. Staged and unplanned vehicle cut-ins demonstrated how the technology handles common traffic situations.
Volvo’s V2V technology is based on Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC), which has proven its capability to perform well in the V2V environment. Dedicated bandwidth within the 5.9GHz spectrum is critical for the successful deployment of V2V application, like truck platooning.
—Keith Brandis Volvo Trucks North America vice president for product planning
The demonstration was the result of an ongoing research collaboration. Since April 2018, three Volvo VNL tractors have been paired with various combinations of FedEx trailers to simulate real-world routes and trailer loads while traveling on N.C. 540. The potential benefits of platooning that are being studied during this collaborative research include faster responses to hard braking while maintaining safety and fuel efficiency.
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