Volvo Trucks and Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH) at the University of California, Berkeley recently completed a successful demonstration of partially automated truck platooning, made possible by Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control technology (CACC). Three Volvo VNL 670 model tractors hauled cargo containers at the Los Angeles Port complex and along Interstate 110, highlighting for public officials and other stakeholders the technology’s potential for improving highway safety, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing the capacity of transportation systems.

“Truck platooning can benefit freight companies and professional drivers alike through safer, more fuel-efficient operations,” said Magnus Koeck, Volvo Trucks vice president of marketing and brand management. “Vehicle-to-vehicle communication is pivotal for platooning systems; it helps reduce the reaction time for braking and enables vehicles to follow closer. Reducing the traveling distance between vehicles not only reduces the aerodynamic drag, but also allows for greater highway utilization, thereby helping to alleviate traffic congestion.”

In simulated “real world” conditions the three Volvo VNL tractors traveled at speeds of 55 miles per hour while keeping 50 feet apart, a closer distance than usual for on-highway tractors. Forward-looking sensors and vehicle-to-vehicle communication helped maintain speed and spacing without driver intervention. Staged and unplanned vehicle cut-ins demonstrated how the technology handles common traffic situations.

CACC technology is an enhancement to the current Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) technology that enables closer and more accurate control of the gap between trucks with increased safety. The advanced technology, which makes platooning possible, is meant to serve as an aid, not a replacement for skilled professional truck drivers. Benefits of platooning through CACC include faster responses to hard braking while maintaining safety, superior longitudinal control while following in a lane, reduced emissions, and improved traffic flow.

The CACC technology being developed in conjunction with PATH has been sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration Advanced Research Program and Caltrans. Other project partners include Cambridge Systematics, Inc., the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Gateway Cities Council of Governments.

Platooning presents the best near-term opportunity for leveraging any level of autonomous technology for on-highway operations, where a skilled professional driver remains vitally important. Volvo has also demonstrated a fully autonomous truck working in a mining operation. Confined environments or jobs humans cannot perform remain the best and most feasible applications for fully autonomous vehicles.

Volvo trucks platooning

Volvo Trucks and Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology at the University of California, Berkeley recently completed a successful demonstration of partially automated truck platooning at the Los Angeles Port complex and along Interstate 110.

Volvo trucks platooning

Volvo Trucks provides complete transport solutions for professional and demanding customers, offering a full range of medium to heavy duty trucks. Customer support is secured via a global network of 2,200 dealers and workshops in more than 125 countries. Volvo trucks are assembled in 15 countries across the globe. In 2015 more than 113,000 Volvo trucks were delivered worldwide. Volvo Trucks is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world's leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, and drive systems for marine and industrial applications. The Group also provides solutions for financing and service. Volvo's work is based on the core values quality, safety and environmental care.

The Volvo Group, which employs about 100,000 people, has production facilities in 18 countries and sells its products in more than 190 markets. In 2015, the Volvo Group's sales amounted to about $37 billion. The Volvo Group is a publicly-held company headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo shares are listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. For more information, please visit www.volvogroup.com or www.volvogroup.mobi if you are using your mobile phone.