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German A; Autonomous Trucks; The Safety Network; pp. 20-22; Issue No. 4; 2017

Most people will be familiar with the fact that technology companies such as Google and Uber are in the process of developing autonomous (self-driving) cars, and that many mainstream automobile manufacturers have plans to bring such vehicles to market at some point in the future. But what about heavy trucks? Do self-driving technologies have a role to play in "big rigs"?

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Autonomous Trucks
Image courtesy of The Volvo Group
Truck Platooning
Image courtesy of Transport Canada

German A; Truck Platooning Research in Canada; The Safety Network; pp. 18-19; Issue No. 4; 2017

For many years racing car drivers have appreciated the benefits of slipstreaming, or drafting, behind an opponent's vehicle in order to reduce aerodynamic drag on their own race car and provide a potential speed advantage in a subsequent overtaking manoeuvre. In the field of commercial transportation, recent advances in electronic sensors and vehicle control systems, seem poised to provide further aerodynamic efficiencies for heavy trucks. However, the goal here is not to have trucks travel faster, rather it is to reduce their fuel consumption.

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