First there were the Supertrucks. Now the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is boosting two-truck platoons.
Last summer an outfit called the North American Council on Freight Efficiency (NACFE) issued a report saying platooning is not that far off, and it will definitely begin with two-truck platoons. They say two-truck platoons could yield fuel savings of 4.5 percent for the lead truck and 10 percent for the one following for an overall savings of 7 percent. According to NACFE, almost every technology needed for two-truck platooning already exists commercially. We're only missing one thing: truck-to-truck communications.
Now DOE is encouraging just that with a $5 million grant to Purdue University. For the next three years the school will be working with Cummins, Peterbilt, ZF TRW, and Peloton (the Silicon Valley company that demonstrated platooning in Utah back in 2013). The DOE wants to raise the average savings of two-truck platoons from 7 percent to 20 percent. That financial incentive would be enough to get a whole lot of carriers interested in platooning.