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Omnitracs, Peloton announce platooning partnership

Omnitracs and Peloton announced Thursday a collaboration designed to bring Peloton’s truck platooning technology to Omnitracs customers. The partnership is also expected to yield jointly systems that combine each company’s capabilities.

In the joint announcement, Omnitracs CEO John Graham praised Peloton for being “on the cutting edge of advanced driver assistance systems and the automated vehicle movement,” adding. “Its emphasis on spatial awareness is a crucial and foundational component of improving truck safety and fuel efficiency.”

Peloton’s technology synchronizes braking and acceleration between pairs of trucks through the integration of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications with radar-based collision avoidance systems.

Peloton will begin filling pre-orders of its flagship platooning product for Class 8 trucks this year.

According to independent testing by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency, the Peloton system generates 4.5 percent fuel savings for the lead truck and 10 percent for the follow truck in a two-truck platoon.

For the driver of the follow truck, the Peloton system works similarly to adaptive cruise control with the added safety feature of V2V communications to enable automated braking within 0.1 second of braking by the lead truck. The driver of each truck controls steering while the platooning system coordinates speed and distance between the trucks– meeting the definition of SAE Level 1 automated driving.

Platooning from the passenger's seat

Platooning from the passenger’s seat

It's interesting to watch this technology in action, even though it can be somewhat un-nerving to ride in a truck that is being led around ...

Platoons are managed continuously by a cloud-based Network Operations Center that connects to trucks through cellular and Wi-Fi communications. Cloud-based supervision limits operation of platoons to specified roads in safe driving conditions.

As part of the partnership, Peloton will help to roll out automated vehicle technology featuring cybersecurity to Omnitracs customers, beginning with two-truck platooning.

“We will offer expanded opportunities for platooning across the broad customer base that Omnitracs has attracted by focusing on cost advantages for fleets,” says Joshua Switkes, founder and CEO of Peloton Technology.

A key operational benefit of the partnership for fleet customers, the companies say, will be optimized matching opportunities for inter-fleet platooning, leveraging Omnitracs’ routing and dispatch applications to provide navigation assistance and csavings calculations for scheduled and ad-hoc platoons of trucks from different fleets.

“This partnership will offer benefits to fleets of all sizes,” adds Peloton’s Vice President of Products, Sales and Business Development Butch Winters. “In addition to helping fleets find more opportunities for platooning, we’re working with Omnitracs on new product features to enhance safety and efficiency for fleets and drivers.”

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Jason Cannon is the Equipment Editor for Commercial Carrier Journal and Overdrive, and is a Class A CDL holder. Reach him at jasoncannon@randallreilly.com.