Platooning: Driving the Safety of the Commercial Fleet

Trucks connected with Wi-Fi and utilizing advanced safety sensors such as radars and camera systems are expected to reduce the number of accidents on the road, as they are able to sense the world around them and better react to their surroundings. But is ‘seeing’ the world around the vehicle enough to improve the safety of our roads? 

Talking vehicles 

This is where vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology comes to play. With the aid of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), V2V allows a vehicle to leverage data collected from neighbouring vehicles’ location, speed, steering-wheel position and brake status to paint a more detailed picture of its surroundings. By talking to other vehicles, V2V can predict their behaviors and warn passengers of any imminent hazards before they happen – all in a fifth of the time it would take a human.

Aptiv was the first to bring this technology to market with the introduction of V2V modules, using dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) in the 2017 Cadillac CTS. The Aptiv module is the first FCC-certified commercial product in North America, as well as Innovation, Science and Economic Development  in Canada and the Federal Telecommunications Institute in Mexico. Since then, we’ve been exploring ways we can harness V2V technologies in commercial vehicles to make significant strides to transform the way we deliver commercial goods. 

Follow the leader
We believe that platooning technology will achieve just that and fundamentally, provide the pathway towards higher levels of safety in the commercial space, particularly with Heavy Duty and Medium Duty (HDMD) trucks. The use of vehicle technologies to support the driver is a widely accepted concept for both commercial and passenger vehicles, and the next step is to combine several connected vehicles to form platoons. 

A platoon is the linking of two or more trucks in convoy using V2V technology, where the vehicle leading the platoon will share data and inform the direction of the following trucks to synchronise movements. For example, if the lead vehicle brakes abruptly, the other platoon vehicles behind it will be informed and will brake simultaneously with minimal delay. 

There are many benefits from leveraging V2V systems to connect trucks in this way:

  • Increased fuel efficiency – Vehicles moving in convoy reduces the air resistance and allows for more efficient fuel consumption. Platoons are predicted to reduce carbon dioxide levels up to 16 percent from trailing vehicles and up to eight percent from the lead vehicle. 

  • Safety – Currently, human error is a contributory factor in more than 90 percent of road collisions. Advanced safety systems therefore promise to enhance safety and convenience of the driving task with faster reaction times. 

  • Accelerating traffic flows – Platooning helps to reduce the distance between each vehicle, that means less space is taken up on the roads. Platooning of vehicles could ease traffic congestion and increase highway capacity by as much as 500 percent. 

To really drive change when it comes to reducing injury and fatalities on our roads, we need to innovate and deploy technologies that allow vehicles to ‘talk’ to one another and think intuitively. You can read more about our journey to developing intuitive V2V systems in our V2V Now blog. 

Additionally, Aptiv active safety and advances in V2V technologies in the commercial space will be on display at this year’s IAA Commercial Vehicles Forum in Hanover September 20 – 27| Pavilion 11. 

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