The US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has awarded contracts to three consortia that will study how connected truck platoons or convoys will operate in real-world environments.
The FHWA has made the awards under the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for a Phase 1 Truck Platooning Early Deployment Assessment, and the project is being conducted to understand how truck platoons will operate in a realistic, operational environment. The agency notes that previous research has resulted in the development of truck platooning technology with only limited testing and demonstration in a real-world environment. This new project will provide valuable insight into actual truck platooning operations that can be used to inform state and local stakeholders that are making decisions related to truck platooning regulations.
The project will assess various aspects of in-service truck platoons that are delivering commercial goods by a fleet operator on their common delivery routes over an extended time period. Various data will be collected, both technical and operational, related to the vehicles, environment and drivers to assess safety, efficiency and mobility impacts. The strategy is to partner with and make use of current industry and state agency plans for truck platooning operations on highways across the USA.
The 9-month Phase 1 project awards will perform detailed planning and team building and develop Phase 2 proposals. The Phase 2 project awards will execute the plans, collect data, and conduct evaluations of truck platoons driven by professional drivers delivering commercial goods as part of real-world day-to-day operations. Only Phase 1 awardees will be eligible to submit Phase 2 proposals. The FHWA will work together with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the USDOT’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) to conduct the work. Previously laid out in its Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicle 3.0 document, the project is funded by the USDOT through its ITS JPO.
The three consortia to receive the Phase 1 awards are:
- Team Lead – Battelle.
Key Team Members/Partners – Center for Automotive Research, Pennsylvania State University, SAE International, Saia LTL Freight, Volvo Group, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).
Proposed platooning locations – Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Contract Amount – US$499,878.
- Team Lead – California PATH.
Key Team Members/Partners – California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), California Highway Patrol, Cambridge Systematics, I-10 Corridor Coalition, Volvo Group, Westat.
Proposed platooning locations – California and Arizona.
Contract Amount – US$499,290.
- Team Lead – CDM Smith.
Key Team Members/Partners – Anheuser-Busch, BGM Consulting, Columbus Region Logistics Council, Ohio Department of Transportation/Drive Ohio, Ohio State University, Ohio Turnpike Commission, Robert Bosch, Sutra Research and Analytics.
Proposed platooning locations – Indiana and Ohio.
Contract Amount – US$497,379.