New Issue Preview: Giant Steps…

As Auto-Follower platooning takes the stage in driverless trucking, Richard Bishop and Michael Britt‘s thought-provoking, highly detailed account of the latest developments in vehicle automation makes for the perfect cover feature for the forthcoming issue of Thinking Highways…

“The curtain has risen on the next generation of truck platooning and the key word is ‘driverless.’  The commercial truck platooning systems now coming to market provide a robust and safe system for close following of two or three trucks, saving fuel due to improved aerodynamics — and enhancing safety with state-of-the-art ADAS systems. Radar plus vehicle-to-vehicle communications are the enabling technologies to synchronize the throttle and brakes of the rear truck(s) with the lead truck. Both drivers are steering and monitoring/responding to the road environment.  This is a “Level 1” system as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The natural evolution will be to enhance the tech on follower vehicles such that they can follow the leader on their own.  This new platooning model will leverage the skills and decision-making of the highly-trained, observant and intelligent truck driver in the lead truck to enable a form of “supported driverless” in these early days of automated truck deployment.  Given that in “auto-follow” a human remains in the larger loop, regulators’ concerns about full driverless are eased.  One might say that such an “auto-follow” system constitutes a hybrid “Level 1 / Level 4” system in SAE levels lingo, although the level definitions don’t really address such multi-vehicle systems.

The full article, and over 20 others, will be out in early November in our new web platform format. If you’ve been excited by what you’ve seen at the ITS World Congress in Singapore then you won’t want to miss out on the new issue of Thinking Highways.

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