Peloton’s PlatoonPro system saves fuel by enabling two trucks to safely draft each other at a close following distance resulting in fuel savings for the follow and even lead truck. It is a driver assistive system that requires both drivers to be fully engaged in the driving task. Unlike some platooning systems, the follow driver continues to steer while platooning with PlatoonPro.
Peloton has developed a training program and all drivers are required to graduate before they can platoon on public roads. The training takes less than a day with a mix of classroom and on-road activities which include the operation of the system, platooning-related maneuvers, handling of merges and interchanges, and driver-to-driver communication.
The classroom training prepares the drivers with an understanding of how the system operates and why it is safe, distinguishing between system responsibilities (e.g. managing the gap, reacting to lead truck braking) and driver responsibilities (e.g. maintaining situational awareness, making decisions about when to start and stop platooning).
For the on-road portion of the training, two trainers demonstrate platooning with drivers in the passenger seat of the two trucks. They emphasize the teamwork aspects of platooning enabled by the hands-free driver-to-driver radio. Two sets of eyes are better than one; drivers look out for each other by sharing road conditions like merging traffic on entry-ramps. They coordinate maneuvers like lane changes to avoid merging traffic or to overtake slower vehicles. Next, the drivers take the wheel and practice the platooning maneuvers under the supervision of the trainers. Usually, it only takes a few hours in the driver’s seat of a PlatoonPro-equipped truck to master and gain confidence with the system.
Peloton has successfully trained fleet drivers from a variety of backgrounds and experience levels. Drivers rapidly transition from a position of concern about safety to confidence in the system and appreciation of this new form of team driving.