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FHWA 13-17
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Contact: Nancy Singer
Tel.: (202) 366-0660

Federal Highway Administration Showcases Cutting-Edge
Truck Platooning Technology

New technology to improve efficiency of freight shipping nationwide

CENTREVILLE, Va. –The Federal Highway Administration today conducted the first of a two-day demonstration of three-truck platoons on I-66 in Centreville, Va., several miles outside the nation’s capital. The results of a four-year research project to test the effectiveness of state-of-the-art driving and communications technologies were showcased at the event.

“The future of innovative new technology to help our drivers navigate the road more safely is so full of promise; it’s a future where vehicles increasingly help drivers avoid crashes,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “As technology advances, safety is a primary concern of the Department, but the benefits of these driving technologies extend beyond safety, including productivity and efficiency on our roads.”

Truck platooning uses vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology to allow trucks to follow each other more closely – at about one second apart – and travel in a more coordinated fashion. While various aspects of truck platooning have been studied for years, FHWA’s Exploratory Advance Research program has taken testing to new levels with the addition of Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC) technology. CACC adds vehicle-to-vehicle communications to the adaptive cruise control capability now available in new vehicles. This connectivity allows trucks to operate more smoothly as a unit, reducing and controlling the gaps between vehicles.

The demonstrations came just days after Secretary Chao and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced new guidelines for Automated Driving Systems (ADS) called, A Vision for Safety. This guidance is the newest version replacing previous operating guidance and offers a more flexible approach to advancing the innovation of automated vehicle safety technologies. The Department of Transportation is focused on collecting and sharing the best ideas and approaches to developing and testing automated vehicle technologies and to ensure that no requirements or regulatory hurdles exist or are introduced that could delay these vehicle safety advances.

“These new technologies have the ability to increase capacity on our highways and make freight transportation more efficient,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Brandye Hendrickson. “With innovations like these, we can get more out of the highway system we already have, relieve traffic congestion and reduce costs to the freight industry.”

Considering the volume of freight moved annually by trucks on America’s roads is expected to more than double over the next 25 years, federal officials expect truck platooning to dramatically enhance highway mobility. Trucks represent the most commonly used mode for freight shipping, moving 63 percent of total tonnage transported in the U.S.

Today’s demonstration involved partially automated trucks – which are not driverless, and used professional drivers. The advanced technology that makes platooning possible is meant to supplement, not replace, the nation’s commercial motor vehicle operators.

More information is available here on truck platooning.

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FHWA Press Releases

Page posted on September 14, 2017
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000