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DAIM­LER HAS be­gun test­ing con­nected trucks in so-called pla­toon­ing op­er­a­tions on pub­lic roads in the US. This was an­nounced dur­ing the re­cent North Amer­i­can Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cle Show in At­lanta, Ge­or­gia.

In truck pla­toon­ing, con­nec­tiv­ity and au­to­mated driv­ing is said to im­prove safety within the ve­hi­cle con­voys, sup­port driv­ers and en­hance ef­fi­ciency through closer dis­tances be­tween the con­nected trucks.

Hav­ing started with suc­cess­ful tri­als on Daim­ler Trucks North Amer­ica’s (DTNA) proving ground in Madras, Ore­gon, DTNA has re­ceived the ap­pro­pri­ate per­mis­sion from the re­gional reg­u­la­tory body Ore­gon Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion (ODOT).

In a first step called ‘pair­ing’, DTNA tests its pla­toon­ing tech­nol­ogy in two con­nected Freight­liner New Cas­ca­dia truck trailer com­bi­na­tions. In a joint ef­fort with large fleet cus­tomers, DTNA will test dig­i­tally con­nected trucks in ev­ery day trans­port busi­nesses.

Pres­i­dent and CEO of Daim­ler Trucks North Amer­ica Roger Nielsen says pla­toon­ing tech­nol­ogy is not meant to re­place driv­ers. “It’s de­signed to help driv­ers,” he says.

“When the world is ready for pla­toon­ing, DTNA will have a proven so­lu­tion. Right now we are driv­ing Freight­lin­ers in platoons ev­ery day.

“I have per­son­ally driven one of our trucks in a con­nected mode. My ex­pe­ri­ence has been im­pres­sive.”

To dig­i­tally con­nect its Freight­liner New Cas­ca­dia in the cur­rent tests in the US, Daim­ler com­bines con­nec­tiv­ity with its ex­pe­ri­ence in au­to­mated driv­ing.

Wi-Fi-based ve­hi­cle-to-ve­hi­cle com­mu­ni­ca­tion (V2V) in­ter­acts with Freight­liner’s Detroit As­sur­ance 4.0 driver as­sis­tance sys­tems fea­tur­ing adap­tive cruise con­trol, lane de­par­ture as­sist and ac­tive brake as­sist 4. This tech­nol­ogy is said to of­fer fuel sav­ings to the cus­tomer when two or more Freight­liner trucks closely fol­low each other, low­er­ing aero­dy­namic drag and adding safety, be­cause V2V re­ac­tion times have dropped to about 0.2 or 0.3 sec­onds. Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion, hu­mans nor­mally can re­spond no faster than one sec­ond.

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