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Volvo Trucks stages US platooning trials

Volvo Trucks has collaborated with the University of California, Berkeley, to hold a successful demonstration of partially automating truck platooning utilising Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC) in Los Angeles.

The demonstration provided an opportunity for visitors, including California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) Director, Malcolm Dougherty, to ride along the i110 freeway near the Los Angeles and Long Beach Port complex in one of three platooned Volvo Trucks.

According to the Port of Los Angeles, CACC is an enhancement of Adaptive Cruised Control (ACC) that provides closer and more accurate control of the gap and speed different between trucks.

"CACC adds dedicated short range communications or DSRC, this vehicle to vehicle communication enabling the implementation of a higher performance vehicle following controller," the Port said.

"Some of the benefits of the CACC enables heavy trucks to drive in a closer than normal formation with automatic control of their speed and spacing."

“Through the use of vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V), platooning reduces the reaction time for braking and aerodynamic drag between vehicles, thereby improving safety and fuel economy,” said Volvo Group North America Senior Public Affairs Vice President, Susan Alt.

The trucks drove 15m apart at speeds of 88km/h while hauling containers, with staged vehicle cut-ins to demonstrate how they handle traffic.

The CACC platooning technology was developed by the University of California, Berkeley Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH), in coordination with Volvo Group of North America, and CalTrans, under the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Exploratory Advanced research program.

CACC technology reportedly aims to significantly increase the capacity of dedicated truck lane facilities while reducing congestion, potentially resulting in significant benefits for goods movement to and from major ports, and long-haul cross-country routes. Other potential benefits include reduced emissions, improved traffic flow, and faster responses to hard braking while maintaining safety.

Closer to home, the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI) in South Australia is looking for vehicle suppliers for local driverless vehicle trials, starting with public transport.

(image: Port of Los Angeles)

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