Daimler Trucks has now begun testing semi-truck platooning tech in Japan — building on earlier work in Europe — via the FUSO brand we’ve reported on a few times.
For those unfamiliar with the tech, truck platooning is a means of allowing large trucks to travel in convoys with only a bare minimum of distance between them — thereby greatly reducing wind resistance and thus improving fuel efficiency. Needless to say, the potential is there to greatly reduce operating costs for trucking firms if the tech is well implemented.
The testing currently underway in Japan sees a heavy-duty FUSO Super Great operate semi autonomously as a part of convoys with truck offerings from a variety of other commercial truck manufacturers in the country. The idea with using trucks from multiple manufacturers is apparently for greater flexibility of use with regard to the brands of the trucks within any given convoy.
Daimler AG exec Martin Daum commented on the news: “Two years ago, we demonstrated with Mercedes-Benz trucks in Europe that platooning can be done and is highly advantageous. Right now, we keep developing the technology with Freightliner on public roads in the US. Japan is a key market for us that is on the lookout and promotes new technologies. We take part in the Japanese government’s initiative to push platooning further ahead in Asia and to remain in the lead in the development of this technology.”
A Daimler press release provides more: “These test drives take part between January 23rd and February 1st on Shin-Tomei Expressway southwest of Tokyo and on Kita-Kanto Expressway, north of the Japanese capital. The Japanese ministry of economy, trade and industry (METI) and the ministry of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism (MLIT) initiated the platooning test. It is part of the Japanese government’s Future Strategy 2017.”
For more information on the work being done by others in the sector, see: “Peloton Technology Closes $60 Million Series B Funding Round” and “Tesla Planning Test Of Platooning Systems For Long Haul Trucks.”
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