Ford Otosan has worked with one of its partners called AVL to test autonomous vehicles in the form of big rigs that use autonomous platooning technology. The idea is to allow a convoy of autonomous big rigs of the future to follow each other closely to deliver goods. The testing is part of a research collaboration between Ford Otosan and AVL research and engineering centered in Turkey and Regensburg, Germany.
The collaboration between the two firms is aimed at re-defining the operation of trucks in the freight haulage industry. A demonstration was performed on a test track at the Ford Otoisan Eskisehir plant in Turkey. The trucks used were the new Ford F-MAX tractor units equipped with AVL platooning technology.
In the test, the trucks ran in wirelessly-connected convoy formation. The test marks the completion of the first phase of their joint R&D cooperation project. Ford and AVL say the testing of platooning autonomous trucks will form the basis for making fully autonomous transportation a reality around the globe. Ford Otosan’s assistant GM, Burak Gökçelik, says that the project will enable the company to advance smart mobility, reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption, and improve road safety.
In the next phase of the project and long term, the company will focus on developing SAE-Level 4 autonomous driving features and realize hub-to-hub autonomous highway transportation. AVL’s Rolf Dreisbach says that there are multiple benefits to platooning, including reduction of total ownership costs and increased fuel savings along with an increase in safety. When platooning, vehicles follow a lead vehicle and can cut fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent with a similar reduction in vehicle emissions. The ultimate goal is to increase the autonomous tech in the trucks until no human driver is needed. Ford is set to spend more than $4 billion on autonomous tech.
Source: Traffic Technology Today