The State of New York has awarded funding to Advanced Transit Dynamics to research and develop fuel-efficient trailer aerodynamics technology.
Concept rendering of active flow control.
Concept rendering of active flow control.
The company will use the money to focus on active flow control, a technology that reduces aerodynamic drag by modifying airflow at the rear of tractor-trailers.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has shelled out $499,645, with the goal of making this type of technology commercially viable. Over the next two years, ATDynamics will match that amount by about 50 percent cost share.

"With support from New York State, we can turn active flow control into a trucker-tough product that is cost-effective for our fleet customers and OEM partners," said Andrew Smith, CEO of ATDynamics.

ATDynamics already offers a few aerodynamic products, which are EPA SmartWay-approved. These include the ATDynamics Transtex Skirt, which has improved fuel efficiency by 7.35 percent at 60 mph based on SAE J1321 testing, and the ATDynamics TrailerTail, which has achieved 5.1 percent fuel-efficiency gains at 62 mph. Active flow control is similar to the TrailerTail, in that it should reduce the low-pressure suction drag from behind tractor-trailers moving at highway speeds.

"Active flow control is well suited for fleets with roll-door trailers that right now aren't compatible with swing-door TrailerTail technology," said Chuck Horrell, vice president of engineering at ATDynamics. "We are engineering AFC to integrate directly into the rear frame of a roll-door trailer."

ATDynamics has plans down the road to market active flow control toward other aerodynamic uses, including containers, straight trucks and other ground-freight applications.

"NYSERDA is partnering with ATDynamics to reduce oil use and diesel emissions while providing New York freight carriers with a tool for holding down their fuel costs," said Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO of NYSERDA.

Beginning in 2010, ATDynamics will work with fleets operating in New York to test the technology during on-road operations.

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