Long haul trucks reportedly use around 10 percent of the oil consumed in the United States, which makes up around 40 percent of the expenditures for those businesses. But the new technology behind robotic truck convoys can save an average of over 7 percent of fuel costs when the trucks are traveling at 65 miles per hour.
According to automated vehicle company, Peloton Technology, long haul trucks reportedly use around 10 percent of the oil consumed in the United States, which comprises approximately 40 percent of their operating expenditures.
They believe their new robotic truck convoy system can save an average of over 7 percent of fuel costs when the trucks are traveling at 65 miles per hour.
Peloton Technology’s automated truck driving system uses radar, complex computer algorithms and a wireless connection allowing a rear truck to follow a human-driven lead truck keeping the same speed and braking reactions. A driver in the rear truck controls its steering.
On test runs in Nevada and Utah, the computer system allowed the rear vehicle to follow at around 33 feet behind the front vehicle, and demonstrated simultaneous braking that is superior to delayed human reaction times.
The reason trucks driving really close to each other saves gas is that the aerodynamic drag caused by the wind decreases fuel efficiency significantly.
Safety is also increased because the computer system includes a video screen that shows the driver’s blind spots.
Tests of similar trucking systems called Safe Road Trains for the Environment have already been successfully tested for a few years in some European countries.
Those systems use Volvo designed trucks and cars that follow each other autonomously with no driver needed except in the lead vehicle and have been successfully tested on public roads..