Arkansas Trucking Association

ATRI releases results on truck platooning study

In its first phase of research on the feasibility of truck platooning, the American Transportation Research Institute concluded that driver-assisted platooning can save fuel and increase efficiency for carriers that average load trips of 500 miles or more.

Researchers concluded in the study, funded by a grant from the U.S. DOT, that trailing trucks in a platoon can see as much as a 10 percent fuel economy increase, and lead trucks can increase fuel economy by as much as 5 percent.

ATRI’s, a research arm of the American Trucking Associations, researchers from Auburn University conducted a case study using actual truck movement data from ATRI’s truck GPS database.

Small fleets and owner-operators could see a return on investment in only 10 months of investing in platooning technology. The research also indicated an ROI in 18 months for larger fleets.

Truckload and line-haul LTL operations would likely be the greatest beneficiaries of a platooning system, particularly among larger fleets.Platooning also would not negatively impact traffic flow and could in fact improve traffic flow if market penetration reaches 60 percent, ATRI’s study concludes.

In the next phase of ATRI’s research, the Auburn researchers will conduct test track and on-road testing pilots of platooning systems. Researchers will monitor and assess a variety of human factor considerations, including driver satisfaction, driver training requirements and driver operational experiences, ATRI says.

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