Photo: Peloton Technology

Omnitracs, Peloton partner to offer truck platooning system

Feb. 16, 2017
System will help locate capable trucks for inter-fleet platooning opportunities, companies say; pre-orders to begin this year

Fleet management systems provider Omnitracs announced that it has partnered with Peloton Technology, a developer of connected and automated vehicle systems, to bring Peloton's truck platooning technology to Omnitracs customers.

Peloton says it will begin filling pre-orders for its platooning system for Class 8 trucks this year and will help to roll out "practical, cost-saving automated vehicle technology featuring leading-edge cybersecurity" to Omnitracs customers, beginning with two-truck platooning.

Omnitracs notes that is has a large customer base in the long-haul trucking segment, "which stands to benefit significantly from platooning." The two companies will also develop joint products to combine their safety, efficiency and fleet management capabilities.

Platooning synchronizes braking and acceleration between pairs of trucks by integrating vehicle-to-vehicle, or V2V, communication with radar-based collision avoidance systems, allowing the trucks to travel safely at closer following distances to reduce aerodynamic drag.

For the driver of the following truck, the platooning system works similarly to adaptive cruise control, with the added safety feature of V2V communication to enable automated braking within 0.1 sec. of braking by the lead truck, according to Peloton. The company adds that its system generates 4.5% fuel savings for the lead truck and 10% for the following truck in a two-truck platoon, as tested by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency.

During platooning, each truck driver controls steering while the platooning system coordinates speed and distance between the trucks, which meets the definition of SAE Level 1 automated driving. Truck platoons are managed continuously by a cloud-based network operations center that connects to trucks through cellular and wireless communication. Cloud-based supervision limits operation of platoons to specified roads in safe driving conditions.

"Peloton has developed technology that is on the cutting edge of advanced driver assistance systems and the automated vehicle movement," stated Omnitracs CEO John Graham. "Its emphasis on spatial awareness is a crucial and foundational component of improving truck safety and fuel efficiency."

A key operational benefit of the partnership for fleet customers, according to the companies, will be optimized matching opportunities for inter-fleet platooning, leveraging Omnitracs' routing and dynamic dispatch applications to provide navigation assistance and clear savings calculations for scheduled and ad-hoc platoons of trucks from different fleets.

Peloton says that the partnership will offer benefits for fleets of all sizes and that it will work with Omnitracs on new product features to enhance safety and efficiency. Jointly developed solutions under the partnership "may include integrated, cloud-based fleet management services and hardware," according to the companies.

"We are excited to be part of the first partnership of a commercial platooning system supplier with a leading fleet management provider," said Joshua Switkes, founder and CEO of Peloton Technology. "We will offer expanded opportunities for platooning across the broad customer base that Omnitracs has attracted by focusing on cost advantages for fleets."

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