Large Trucks Leveraging Technology and Slipstream to Save Energy Amid Concerns from Safety Advocates

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Large Trucks Leveraging Technology and Slipstream to Save Energy Amid Concerns from Safety Advocates

Large Trucks Leveraging Technology and Slipstream to Save Energy Amid Concerns from Safety Advocates

Elite bicycle racers often engage in the practice of platooning, which involves following one another in a straight line at a close distance to reduce drag and increase efficiency. The practice of platooning is also used in the commercial trucking industry to save energy and increase safety.

Grouping two or more large trucks on the highway at what looks like an unsafe following distance can save on fuel costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve safety and take up less space on the road. These efficiencies can only be realized when the truck platoons function in an automated, coordinated way. This concept is not a vision for the future. Testing with platooning truck fleets is taking place right now to bridge the gap until fully autonomous trucks become a reality.

How does platooning actually work?

The company Peloton announced a U.S. Department of Energy-funded team to study how truck platooning can help save 20% on fuel costs for large trucks. By combining technologies such as radar, cameras, reflective light scanning and real-time vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communications, commercial trucks are digitally tethered. Platooning takes advantage of the lead truck’s slipstream. The rear truck in a platoon can reduce fuel use by 10% or more because the lead truck is drastically reducing wind drag. In platooning, the lead truck also experiences reduced fuel use because the rear truck, which is following closely behind, eliminates a lot of turbulence. This allows the two vehicles move almost as one with the wind traveling over both vehicles almost uninterrupted. Because the vehicles are in constant communication with one another in real time, if the lead truck applies the brakes, the rear truck’s brakes are applied simultaneously and in half the time it takes for the human driver to realize that there is a hazard ahead and then apply the brakes.

Will platooning lead to increased safety on the road?

The technology that makes platooning possible might also make trucks safer. The platooning operation is monitored by a remote data center that tracks weather conditions, road and traffic conditions and only engages platooning when conditions are ideal. Peloton has an explainer video on their website which shows how platooning works. Another company, Volpe Technologies, is working with the Federal Highway Administration to develop baseline statistics to determine the optimum following distances for automated truck platoons.

In September 2017, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hosted a demonstration of truck platooning technologies in the I-66 corridor in Centreville, VA. The trucks demonstrated platooning using Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC) System technology. The FMCSA also demonstrated their new truck inspection technologies and safety screening tools designed to make commercial trucking safer and more efficient.

A story in Trucks.com reports that there are nine states with regulations that allow platooning and more states are expected to follow. Another 29 states may allow platooning under current laws regarding following distance laws, and one state, Missouri, has banned the testing of platooning on its state highways due to safety concerns.

There are still many technical hurdles to cross, and then there is the issue of how the general driving public will be informed about interacting with platooning trucks and then eventually, autonomous trucks on the highway. Liability issues are another concern in the event of a technology glitch which allows the following truck to crash into the lead truck.

Commercial truck safety is important, but even the best laid plans can go awry. At Gainsberg Law, we help victims of truck accidents in Chicago and throughout the state. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a free consultation with an experienced lawyer, please call 312-313-1621 or fill out our contact form .

 

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"Neal Gainsberg was an excellent attorney. He explained everything to me and made the process very easy. He was available to answer any questions and provided the help and representation that I needed. I would use Neal again if I had another legal issue. I urge anyone who is looking for a lawyer to call Neal."

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2016-11-21T19:24:30+00:00

L.S., Chicago, IL

"Neal Gainsberg was an excellent attorney. He explained everything to me and made the process very easy. He was available to answer any questions and provided the help and representation that I needed. I would use Neal again if I had another legal issue. I urge anyone who is looking for a lawyer to call Neal."

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"Neal Gainsberg was our lawyer in a car accident case. We were both injured in addition to our 16 month old daughter. Even though the other driver ran the red light and we had witnesses of her illegal conduct, her insurance company at first denied our claim and said it was our fault. We hired Neal and he fought the insurance company hard. Without having to go to court, he was able to convince the insurance company that it was their driver’s fault. Neal got a great settlement for us and our child within three months of the accident. We were very happy with Neal, he kept us informed about everything, and eased our stress from the accident. If you want an excellent car accident attorney, you need to hire Neal!"

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N.S., D.S., Chicago, IL

"Neal Gainsberg was our lawyer in a car accident case. We were both injured in addition to our 16 month old daughter. Even though the other driver ran the red light and we had witnesses of her illegal conduct, her insurance company at first denied our claim and said it was our fault. We hired Neal and he fought the insurance company hard. Without having to go to court, he was able to convince the insurance company that it was their driver’s fault. Neal got a great settlement for us and our child within three months of the accident. We were very happy with Neal, he kept us informed about everything, and eased our stress from the accident. If you want an excellent car accident attorney, you need to hire Neal!"

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2016-11-21T19:35:21+00:00

R.P., Chicago, IL

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J.O., Indiana

"Neal Gainsberg at first represented me in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case. He explained everything to me and developed a payment plan that I could afford. Whenever I had any questions, Neal responded quickly to any emails or phone calls. Unfortunately, I lost income during my plan, and Neal recommended that I convert the case to a Chapter 7 case. Despite my worries about my finances, Neal made everything easy for me, converted the case, and made sure that I received a fresh start. Neal was very knowledgeable about bankruptcy law, and I highly recommend him as a bankruptcy lawyer."

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2016-11-21T19:18:57+00:00

M.T.G., Chicago, IL

"Neal Gainsberg took my personal injury claim against large store after I fell on water and injured my knee and back. The store employees disputed that anything happened and the manager accused me and my son, who witnessed the fall, of making it up. Neal brought a lawsuit against the store, took several depositions of the store employees, and obtained a great settlement for me and my family. Neal fought hard on my case, and I was very pleased with the results."

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2016-11-21T19:25:43+00:00

V.S.G. and M.G., Richton Park, IL

"Neal is a great attorney. He helped us with several legal issues, including obtaining a large settlement for us following a car accident. He worked very hard on our case from the start, answered all our phone calls and questions, and kept us continually updated. Since then, we have used Neal for other civil matters. We have known Neal for over 13 years, and call him whenever we have a legal question. We know Neal will be there to help us."

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2016-11-21T19:21:53+00:00

K.R., Chicago, IL

"After my former lawyer refused to continue with my auto accident case, Neal Gainsberg took over the case, and he was able to obtain a settlement for the other driver’s policy limits. He was actively involved in my case, returned all my calls, and explained any issue that I had during the case. After I spoke with Neal, he was able to resolve any problems or issues. Neal provided exceptional representation against the insurance company for the other driver. Since Neal settled my case, I have recommended him to my family members and friends. If you have a legal issue, you should call Neal and hire him to be your attorney."

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2016-11-21T19:22:30+00:00

E.S., Chicago, IL

"Neal Gainsberg represented me in my Chapter 13 case. He knew all the details about bankruptcy and my case, explained everything to me in the beginning, made every issue easy to understand, and provided the help I needed during the five years of the plan. As a result of Neal’s legal assistance, I was able to make all my plan payments and get a fresh start. I highly recommend that anyone considering bankruptcy to give Neal a call."

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"Neal Gainsberg represented me in a personal injury case after a vehicle struck a motorcycle that I was riding on. Neal made sure I understood my rights as an injured party, and that I was receiving the proper medical attention. He did a great job in negotiating a settlement with the insurance company and making sure all my medical bills were paid and that I was compensated for my injuries and loss time at work. I recommend Neal as a lawyer to anyone who unfortunately is injured in an accident."

M.S., Chicago, IL

2016-11-21T16:41:13+00:00

M.S., Chicago, IL

"Neal Gainsberg represented me in a personal injury case after a vehicle struck a motorcycle that I was riding on. Neal made sure I understood my rights as an injured party, and that I was receiving the proper medical attention. He did a great job in negotiating a settlement with the insurance company and making sure all my medical bills were paid and that I was compensated for my injuries and loss time at work. I recommend Neal as a lawyer to anyone who unfortunately is injured in an accident."
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