Partial Automation for Truck Platooning

The safety, mobility and environmental impacts which are side affects of the current transportation system will continue to worsen as the population and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) continue to increase. For many reasons, conventional solutions can only partially address the numerous challenges associated with transportation. Technologies combining information technology, sensing systems, and communications can be used to automate the driver-vehicle-highway system and have the potential for transformational changes. Commercial vehicles because they are highly regulated. For example, human error is a major factor in around 90 percent of crashes. Humans are very good at complex tasks but are not as good at paying attention (distracted driving). Machines on the other hand are not as good at complex tasks in an uncontrolled environment such as highway driving but do not get distracted and are therefore very good at staying alert. Congestion relief is another area where technology development can have huge impact. Vehicle to vehicle or infrastructure to vehicle communications when added to automating truck speed and spacing can as much as double throughput capacity. Automation can safely maintain or increase the mobility of the elderly and physically challenged populations by supplementing or taking over portions of the driving task.