Commercial trucks will cross Alberta this fall in formation, driven by machine learning to improve safety and fuel efficiency.
The project also deploys sensors, radar and camera technology and driver-assist technology as they move platoon-style with the lead truck driver setting the maximum speed as posted, while the truck automatically lets the others know. The devices will let data flow between trucks to manage human-error-free safety systems, including responses to sudden braking by the lead vehicle and speed limits.
Alberta Motor Transport Association President Chris Nash tells Global Traffic Matters, “The AMTA is pleased to be leading the way on innovation and technology-driven solutions in Alberta’s commercial transportation industry. Platooning uses intelligent technology to pair up smart trucks and allow drivers to get into a formation that allows for more efficient operations, including reducing fuel consumption. Projects like this are critical to Alberta and Canada’s economic growth and competitiveness.”
The platooning project, funded by the Government of Canada, will see two commercial trucks – hauling Bison Transport trailers – retrofitted with intelligent technology and travelling back and forth on the Queen Elizabeth Highway II between Edmonton and Calgary. They are equipped with steering and braking technology that provides connected adaptive cruise control and lane centering.
Driver-assist technology will allow close-proximity following in platoon formation, reducing drag and increasing fuel efficiency. The trials will demonstrate and evaluate following separation distances at three, four and five-second intervals. Other sensors, radar and camera technology will send information between trucks to manage safety and active braking systems and responding to sudden deceleration by the lead vehicle. As part of the trials, the platooning technology will be tested for the safety of vehicle operators and all road users.