Truck “platooning” yields fuel savings, according to tests

Truck “platooning” yields fuel savings, according to tests

Truck “platooning” yields fuel savings, according to tests The first truck platooning trials in Canada revealed positive potential for the technology as a viable tool for fleet management, according a report by

Truck platooning refers to three to four trucks traveling in tight formation with the use of various technology tools such as radar, video cameras, on-board displays, and radio communications.

The Quebec trial used Volvo trucks developed by the California PATH Program (Partners for Advanced Technology). It was undertaken in cooperation with Transport Canada and the US Federal Highway Administration.

Initial findings revealed that the trucks saved from 7% to 13% in fuel consumption as a result of platooning. In the test, the trucks traveled at a uniform 55 mph and 65 mph running empty, as well as with 35,000 lb loads. 

The savings come from the use of physics, where the trucks following the lead truck suffers from less drag, which reduces fuel burn. The truck from the rear also pushes air on the lead truck, which also reduces fuel consumption.

However, the technology gives rise to several regulatory questions, which will need to be addressed as it becomes common in North American roads.

Preliminary results of the test will be made public in December in Montreal. The full technical report will be available late winter this year or early spring next year.

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