PIT Group, the research and engineering branch of FPInnovations focused on improving fleet maintenance and operations in the North American transportation industry, announces its participation in Transport Canada’s Cooperative Truck Platooning Systems (CTPS) testing program taking place from July 24th to August 18th, 2017, at the Motor Vehicle Test Centre in Blainville, Quebec.
Supported by the ecoTECHNOLOGY for Vehicles (eTV) program, the Cooperative Truck Platooning Systems (CTPS) testing program is a joint effort led by Transport Canada and includes the National Research Council Canada; Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (University of California at Berkeley); the U.S. Department of Energy; the U.S. Federal Highway Administration; the California Department of Transportation, and Volvo Trucks.
FPInnovations’ PIT Group was selected to participate due to its renown testing expertise, and will manage track operations and provide trailers, drivers, test engineers and scientific equipment, in addition to conducting fuel consumption measurements using the TMC Fuel Consumption Test Procedure in a ISO 17 025 context.
In 2016, the same team successfully conducted Fuel Economy Testing of a Three-Vehicle Truck Platooning System. This year, the group is focusing on the real world performance and reliability of CTPS using a range of tractor-trailer configurations, speeds, separation distances and weights in various traffic conditions.
Through reductions in aerodynamic drag and vehicle spacing, CTPS offers the potential to improve fuel economy, emissions, traffic flow, and road capacity by employing wireless communications and automation to create a convoy or “platoon” of multiple trucks following in close succession. The technologies employed by CTPS also have potential benefits for drivers and for increasing road safety.
“Platooning is an important step towards autonomous vehicles and to realizing the potential to reduce fuel consumption, eliminate highway congestion and improve safety,” said Yves Provencher, director, market and business development of PIT Group. “This year’s testing program will provide a valuable understanding of the real savings potential of platooning. We are pleased to contribute our ten years of testing expertise to assist in this valuable industry research effort.”
In the old days, the government prevented truckers from platooning, convoying, or whatever they wanted to call it because they felt is was unsafe. It wasn’t unsafe for those involved in the platoon because we were in constant contact with the lead truck and every other truck in the platoon. The lead was in charge and we slowed or sped up at the choice and under the direction of the leader. The unsafe part was the effect our trucks in convoy had on other traffic. The wind tunnel effect made the second and subsequent truck to travel in a virtual vacuum and actually push the lead truck faster than it would have been able to go all on it’s own. They manipulated the air around us for our advantage, but for smaller vehicles we would pass, they were the ones who had difficulty dealing with the manipulated air pressures. Even at legal speed, when the small vehicles were doing the passing, the air being pushed aside caused the unsuspecting small vehicle into moments of potential distress. The fuel saving was extremely significant and that’s why truckers convoyed.
Now because of the Autonomous Vehicles on the horizon methodologies for Platooning have to be studied and approved.