Truck platooning to be trialled in WA

The Western Australian Government has approved plans to trial truck platooning in the state as part of a new study.

The trials will be spearheaded by US-based automated and connected vehicle technology company, Peloton Technology, and the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI) in an industry partnership that will explore the safety and fuel efficiency benefits of truck platooning in Australia.

“Australia’s driving conditions and the long distances of our truck routes between urban centres make truck platooning a particularly promising technology to enhance the industry,” said Rita Excell, Executive Director of the ADVI Centre of Excellence.

“In addition, truck platooning mixed with higher levels of automation can bring greater safety, efficiency and productivity to fleets operating on Australia’s extensive network of private roads. We look forward to holding joint discussions involving Peloton and Australian trucking fleets to identify specific opportunities to apply this technology going forward.”

Peloton CEO, Joshua Switkes, added. “It is great to see Australia join the growing list of markets worldwide that are adopting emerging technologies that enhance vehicle safety and efficiency. ADVI and the other partners coming together provide Peloton with a great gateway to work with the key Australian industry, fleet and government partners needed for us enter this important new market.”

It’s also been confirmed that telecommunications giant, Telstra, will also support the study, as will the State Government and the Western Australian Road Transport Association (WARTA).

While a number of transport bodies in Australia have expressed doubts over the relevance of the trials, WARTA said platooning was a chance to further its understanding of the progressive technology. “This partnership represents a real opportunity for our WA industry to participate at the forefront of road transport industry innovation, safety and productivity,” said Cam Dumesny, spokesman for the WARTA.

Truck platooning involves a convoy of trucks equipped with smart driving support systems – one closely following the other, with all trucks in constant communication with one another.

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