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Technology Helping Truck Drivers

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Tailgating an 18-wheeler on the freeway is usually frowned upon unless you're platooning. "Tailgating in a good way. Lots of technology in the cab," says Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, R-Nevada.

The semis are equipped with technology that allows the rear truck to follow just 40 feet behind the front one. "It is not a distance anyone should be driving manually, in a truck. But with this ultra-fast reaction time, it's dramatically safer than if you were driving manually. Even at a further distance," says Joshua Switkes, CEO, Peloton Technology.
 
Peloton Technology uses wireless communication that's similar to cruise control. But it gives braking and acceleration control to the lead truck. The drivers control the steering and they only platoon if the road and weather conditions are right.

The rear truck also has a video monitor that allows the driver to see what's in front of the lead truck. "I'm very comforted by it and it's actually great technology. I think it will improve safety on our highways as it advances and gets widespread," says Col. Dennis Osborn, Nevada Highway Patrol

The company's CEO says the system will reduce highway collisions. "A human driver takes between one and two seconds to react. We can cut that down to almost simultaneously braking between the two trucks."

"The astonishing fact is that while platooning, even the front truck is saving fuel."
 
The front truck saves about 4% on fuel while the rear saves about 10%. A huge savings since fuel costs between $80-$100,000 a year per truck. The next step is for local fleets to get onboard. "We just hope to not only be part of the research and development but the manufacturing and the job creation that we believe will come with it in years to come," says Lt. Gov. Krolicki.

Trucking is a $650-billion industry and their biggest obstacles are crashes and fuel economy.
 
Peloton hopes this will improve both. They say these trucks could be on Nevada highways by the end of next year.

Written by Paul Nelson

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