RALEIGH – Volvo Trucks North America and FedEx teamed up Wednesday with the North Carolina Turnpike Authority to demonstrate advanced technology developed to help big trucks travel safely close together in fuel-efficient “platoons.”
“This collaboration demonstrates the Turnpike Authority’s commitment to invest in the safety of customers with state-of-the-art technology that could become an invaluable tool for transportation,” said Turnpike Authority Executive Director Beau Memory. “With one of the most advanced roadways in the nation, the Turnpike Authority wants all drivers to have every tool and technological advancement necessary to reach their destination safely and efficiently.”
The Triangle Expressway was the site of a demonstration with three Volvo tractors, each fitted with sensors and antennas and pulling a pair of 28-foot trailers.
All three trucks had professional drivers at the wheel. But their acceleration and braking was controlled by a wireless communication system connecting the three vehicles. The second and third trucks automatically matched the pace set by the lead truck.
The three trucks were spaced 75 to 100 feet apart as they traveled at 62 miles per hour on the Triangle Expressway.
“Alleviating traffic accidents requires truck manufacturers, authorities, infrastructure planners, and other experts around the world to work together,” said Keith Brandis Vice President for product planning of Volvo Trucks North America. “We applaud the North Carolina Department of Transportation and North Carolina Turnpike Authority for their ongoing focus on safety and investing in infrastructure to support transportation for the future.”
The Triangle Expressway, a high-tech, six-lane toll road in Research Triangle Park and western Wake County, is outfitted with cameras, sensors and a fiber network. The N.C. Turnpike Authority was one of 10 agencies chosen last year by the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide proving grounds for connected and automated vehicle technologies that are quickly changing the nation’s cars and trucks. In February the authority tested a Cadillac CT6 with advanced driver-assistance technology.
“We are pleased to collaborate with Volvo Trucks and the N.C. Turnpike Authority to learn more about how platooning technology can benefit our team members while improving fuel efficiency for our fleet,” said Gloria Boyland, FedEx corporate vice president for operations and service support.