By Mark Edward Nero
On March 8, federal, state and local government and private industry partners conducted a demonstration of partially automated truck platooning, or Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC), at the Port of Los Angeles and along Interstate 110.
The technology was demonstrated as trucks drove the freeway safely in closer proximity than usual by using forward-looking sensors and vehicle-to-vehicle communication to maintain automated speed and spacing.
The demonstration simulated “real world” conditions as three big-rig trucks drove 50 feet apart at speeds of 55 miles per hour while hauling cargo containers, like those that shuttle between the port and industrial centers throughout Los Angeles County. Radar detected automobile cut-ins by a staged vehicle to demonstrate how the system handles traffic.
The technology was developed by the University of California, Berkeley Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH), in coordination with Volvo Group of North America’s platooning activities.
The demo aimed to give partners and stakeholders a first-hand experience of the technology that could enhance safety, increase transportation system capacity, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
CACC technology aims to significantly increase the capacity of dedicated truck lane facilities while reducing congestion, potentially resulting in significant benefits for goods movement to and from major ports, and long-haul cross-country routes. Other potential benefits include reduced emissions, improved traffic flow, and faster responses to hard braking while maintaining safety.
PATH plans to test truck driver preferences among multiple gap settings on San Francisco Bay Area freeways this spring, and simulating impacts on traffic and energy savings on the Interstate 710 corridor.
“This technology will become available for use in the coming years, and when it does it should be embraced due to its numerous benefits,” PATH representative Steve Shladover said.