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Peloton runs 1,000-mile test of platooning trucks

Mountain View, CA — Peloton Technology, a developer of connected and automated vehicle systems for U.S. and global freight carriers, participated in the State of Florida’s Driver-Assistive Truck Platooning Pilot Project on the Florida Turnpike. The demonstration occurred in collaboration with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and featured two Peloton-equipped Volvo VNL670 class 8 trucks, which covered more than 1,000 miles during the pilot project. Using the advanced systems provided by Peloton Technology, including linked collision avoidance capability, the two trucks traveled at a separation distance of approximately 65 feet, with professional drivers remaining fully in command of each truck at all times. Working together using this technology, the two drivers in this demonstration benefited from connected safety systems and enhanced driver-to-driver communication while achieving high levels of aerodynamic fuel savings.

“Peloton Technology appreciates the opportunity to demonstrate its driver-assistive truck platooning technology as part of Florida’s connected vehicle pilot project,” said Steve Boyd, Peloton co-founder and VP of external affairs. “The demonstrations this week were very successful, and we look forward to working with the Florida transportation agencies, the Florida Trucking Association, major fleets and others as we bring this safety and efficiency technology to the Sunshine State. We want to thank the Governor, Legislature and State agencies for their leadership in allowing for the demonstration and advancement of innovative technologies that can bring enhanced safety, efficiency and mobility to both Florida and the nation.”

“As a leader in transportation technology, Florida is proud to participate in the piloting of transportation technologies that benefit the commercial trucking industry, while improving the safety of Florida’s roadways,” said Tom Byron, assistant secretary of strategic development for the Florida Department of Transportation. “With its economic, environmental, and mobility benefits, vehicle platooning offers a competitive advantage for the state of Florida. We welcome this and other opportunities to test connected vehicle systems and other advanced transportation concepts that will improve roadway safety and bring new economic opportunities to the region.”

Peloton’s driver-assistive system enhances driver teamwork by enabling two individual drivers to form a two-truck platoon under appropriate highway conditions. Unlike highly automated vehicles, Peloton’s system requires drivers of each truck to be in full control of steering and remain actively engaged in driving. The system links the active safety systems of class 8 trucks, enabling pairs of trucks to coordinate their speeds and maintain a safe, aerodynamic following distance. For drivers, the system has similarities to Adaptive Cruise Control, radar-enhanced cruise control which is in use today in hundreds of thousands of cars and trucks. In normal operations today, trucks have been found to travel at relatively close following distances, with one USDOT study showing an average following distance of 170 feet (USDOT Volpe Center, April 2016). In this real-world environment, Peloton’s systems help drivers team up, operate safely and dramatically improve efficiency. The Peloton Network Operations Center intelligently orders trucks by weight and braking ability and limits platooning to appropriate multi-lane, divided, limited access highways as well as suitable weather and traffic conditions. The North American Council for Freight Efficiency has validated fuel savings from the Peloton system of 4.5% for the lead truck and 10% for the follow truck. Peloton also enhances the safety of each tractor by requiring that it is equipped with best-in-class collision avoidance and air disc brakes on all axles, features that are found on a very small fraction of US freight trucks. Peloton’s efficiency benefits incentivize fleets to add these features, making each truck safer than most trucks on the road today.

Across the US, nine states have confirmed allowance for commercial deployment of driver-assistive truck platooning: Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Additional states are considering confirming allowance in 2018. This week’s successful truck platooning demonstrations set the stage for the State of Florida to consider joining others in allowing full commercial deployment.

Looking ahead to 2018, Peloton Technology will continue its work with Florida transportation leaders on the path to bringing its safety and efficiency solution into commercial operation in the state.

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