Canada’s PIT Group engineering research group is turning its attention to emerging truck platooning technology and operations. The organization is a branch of FPInnovations, dedicated to improving fleet maintenance and operations in the North American transportation industry. Truck platooning uses advanced vehicle safety systems and Level 3 autonomous vehicle technology to allow tractor-trailers to run at close following distances at highways speeds, allowing for significant fuel economy gains.
PIT Group is participating in Transport Canada’s Cooperative Truck Platooning Systems testing program that began July 24 and will end August 18 at the Motor Vehicle Test Centre in Blainville, Quebec.
Supported by the ecoTechnology for Vehicles program, the Cooperative Truck Platooning Systems testing program is a joint effort led by Transport Canada (roughly the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. Department of Transportation), working with the National Research Council Canada; Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (University of California at Berkeley); the U.S. Department of Energy; the U.S. Federal Highway Administration; the California Department of Transportation, and Volvo Trucks.
During the testing program, PIT Group will manage track operations and provide trailers, drivers, test engineers and scientific equipment, in addition to conducting fuel consumption measurements using the TMC Fuel Consumption Test Procedure developed by the American Trucking Associations' Technology & Maintenance Council.
In 2016, the same team conducted fuel economy testing of a three-vehicle truck platooning system; results were published earlier this summer. This year, the group is focusing on the real-world performance and reliability of cooperative truck platooning systems, using a range of tractor-trailer configurations, speeds, separation distances and weights in various traffic conditions.
“Platooning is an important step towards autonomous vehicles and to realizing the potential to reduce fuel consumption, eliminate highway congestion and improve safety,” said Yves Provencher, director, market and business development of PIT Group. “This year’s testing program will provide a valuable understanding of the real savings potential of platooning. We are pleased to contribute our 10 years of testing expertise to assist in this valuable industry research effort.”