PATH Demonstrates Truck Platooning in DC

October 17, 2017

On Sept. 14, 2017 representatives from Partners In Advance Transportation Technology (PATH) travelled to the Washington DC area to help demonstrate Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CCAC) with a three truck platoon along an an 8-mile course on I-66 in Virginia — with help from the Virginia State Police and the Federal Highway Administration (FWHA). 

The event was the final deliverable on PATH's FHWA contract and is one of many recent demonstrations of Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control using PATH's fleet of three Volvo trucks designed for truck platooning in coordination with Volvo Trucks North America and Pelton Technology. 

Steven Shladover, platoon project manager at PATH, said platooning is one example of vehicle-to-vehicle communication, or V2V, through dedicated short-range communications (DSRC). He said there also is vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, or V2I, and that trucks could get important information from highways, bridges or stoplights. In addition, truck platooning can increase fuel efficiancy inlong-range situations.

During the demonstration, computers on the three trucks “talked” among themselves via DSRC, a type of radio using 5.9 gigahertz transmission. The closest following distance between trucks was 45 to 50 feet at 55 mph — a following gap of just 0.6 second, and all three trucks had drivers. Once the system was turned on, though, the drivers in the two following vehicles needed only their hands for steering. Technology took care of braking and accelerating.

The demonstration included a cut-in segment, when a car wedged itself into the gap between two of the three trucks. The radar mounted on the Volvos calculated a following distance so the trucks could travel safely even though a car had joined.

The demonstration did not include a stomp-the-brakes-hard segment.

“For that, you would need a closed course,” said Shladover.

Read news articles about the event:

NBC Washington
Self-Driving Tractor-Trailers Being Tested on I-66 

Partially automated truck 'platoon' hits area highways               
Drive assist technology allows tractor-trailers to tailgate safely, save on gas