New Research Assesses Potential for Driver-Assistive Truck Platooning

Contact: Dan Murray
(651) 641-6162
May 27, 2015

Arlington, VA – The Phase One Final Report of the Driver-Assistive Truck Platooning (DATP) initiative was recently released by the research team. The DATP truck platooning research, which was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Exploratory Advanced Research program, utilizes radar, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, and video technologies to decrease over-the-road truck headways, with the objective of improving fuel economy without compromising safety.

As a core team member of the project, ATRI was involved in multiple tasks including the development and assessment of trucking industry user requirements. It was also the Project Lead for development of the business case for truck platooning. Some of the Phase 1 results identified:

  • Up to 10 percent fuel economy for the trailing truck, and up to 5 percent fuel economy for the leading truck;
  • Truckload and line-haul LTL operations would likely be the greatest beneficiaries of a platooning system, particularly among larger fleets;
  • Fleets and drivers who operate average truck trips of more than 500 miles would experience the highest returns on investment from platooning;
  • Modelers at Auburn University confirmed that platooning would not negatively impact traffic flows, and could improve traffic flows if truck market penetration reached 60 percent;
  • Platoon formation in some operations appears to be feasible, based on a case study using actual truck movement data from ATRI’s truck GPS database;
  • Small fleets and owner-operators required an investment payback period of 10 months, while larger fleets had a mean payback expectation of 18 months.

In Phase 2 of the DATP project, the research team will be conducting both test-track and on-road pilot testing of the system. In addition, the team will monitor and assess a variety of human factors considerations including driver satisfaction, driver training requirements and driver operational experiences. The business case analysis will be extended based on these results

The DATP research team is led by Auburn University and includes ATRI, Bishop Consulting, Peloton Technology, Peterbilt Trucks, and Meritor Wabco.

The Driver-Assistive Truck Platooning Phase 1 report is available on the ATRI website by clicking here.

ATRI is the trucking industry’s 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization.  It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation’s essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system.