October 18 2017
In a press release today, Daimler Trucks North America announced that it will drive digitally connected trucks on public highways in Nevada and Oregon.
Daimler Trucks North America says it now has permission from the Oregon Department of Transportation to test its platooning technology on public roads after successful trials in Madras, Oregon. Joint tests with fleet customers will begin in 2018.
Truck platooning is the practice of grouping trucks smart technology and state-of-the-art driving systems on highways that can communicate with each other. Connectivity and automated driving improve safety within the vehicle convoys, support drivers and enhance efficiency through closer distances between the connected trucks.
The company says they're responding to increased customer interest in solutions for automated and connected driving in commercial transport. Through a press release, Roger Nielsen, President and CEO von Daimler Trucks North America said their technology is centered on efficiency and safety and is designed to help drivers, not replace them.
To digitally connect the trucks, Daimler combines connectivity technology with automated driving technology. This is wi-fi-based vehicle-to-vehicle communication that interacts with a driver assistance system with adaptive cruise control, lane departure and active break assistance in the connected trucks. The technology creates fuel savings, lowers the aerodynamic drag and increases safety on braking distances when two or more trucks are closely following each other.
In August 2017, Reuters reported that Elon Musk would be developing a prototype for a self-driving, electric semi-truck that would move in platoons while following a lead vehicle. The discussions, according to the Reuters story were between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
Jennifer Kite-Powell is a writer who looks at the intersection of technology and science with art & culture, health, environment and industry. You can follow her on Twitter @jennalee.