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Peloton Technology Demonstrates Driver-Assistive Truck Platooning System to Michigan Officials on Path to Commercial Deployment

Mountain View, CA (December 4, 2017) – Peloton Technology, a developer of connected and automated vehicle systems for U.S. and global freight carriers, hosted a live demonstration of driver-assistive truck platooning on I-96 in the Novi area on Friday, December 1, 2017. The demonstration which occurred in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan State Police, and Michigan Economic Development Corporation, featured a pair of Peloton-equipped Volvo VNL670 class 8 trucks platooning at approximately 65 feet allowing participants to experience how this semi-automated and connected vehicle technology, including Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communications, assists drivers in a real-world setting.

This demonstration in Michigan represented a key step on the path towards commercial deployment of the Peloton platooning system. Working with the major truck OEM’s, safety suppliers and leading fleets, Peloton has continued to refine its driver-assistive truck platooning system and is on track to deploy it commercially during 2018.

“Michigan has been a national leader in the legislative approval of connected and automated vehicles so we were excited to demonstrate the Peloton truck platooning system in the Detroit area as a stepping stone towards commercial deployment within the state” said Steve Boyd, Peloton co-founder and VP of external affairs. “The demonstration showed key Michigan leaders the safety, efficiency and mobility benefits that this technology provides to fleets and the public. We look forward to our ongoing work with the State of Michigan and industry partners across the region as we bring driver-assistive truck platooning into commercial deployment.”

“We are committed to advancing safety and efficiency in commercial trucking operations and accelerating the economic benefits that result from improving the movement of goods,” said Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation. “Many companies in Michigan’s automotive industry are playing a key role in the development of connected and automated vehicle technologies like platooning. The state is proud to be a leader in paving the way for the deployment and growth of vehicle platooning technologies which can bring great value to the region.”

Thanks to tremendous leadership by State Senator Mike Kowall, the Michigan law enabling testing and commercial deployment of truck platooning was enacted in 2016. It requires that platooning system providers submit a general operations plan to MDOT and the Michigan State Police. Peloton’s plan was approved earlier this year and this month’s demonstration was the next step in moving towards commercial deployment in Michigan.

Following Michigan’s enactment of this law, eight states have followed suit and confirmed allowance for commercial deployment of driver-assistive truck platooning: Arkansas, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Additional states are considering confirming allowance for driver-assistive truck platooning in 2018.

A minority of the states in the U.S. have numeric minimum following distances that apply to commercial vehicles, and a majority of states have discretionary following distance standards which may allow for commercial deployment driver-assistive truck platooning under current law.

Peloton’s driver-assistive system allows drivers to form two-truck platoons and keeps the drivers fully engaged in driving at all times. The system assists drivers with state of the art safety technology, detecting and making space for any vehicles that cut in between the trucks.

Peloton’s two-truck system provides a robust wireless communications link between the active safety systems of class 8 trucks, enabling pairs of trucks to coordinate their speeds and maintain a safe, aerodynamic following distance. The Peloton system limits platooning to appropriate multi-lane, divided, limited access highways. The system also intelligently orders pairs of trucks and determines their optimal following distance — typically between approximately 40 and 80 feet – and enables the rear truck in a platoon to respond to braking by the lead truck in approximately a tenth of a second, eliminating the normal delay from driver perception and reaction time. The North American Council for Freight Efficiency has validated fuel savings from the Peloton system of 4.5% for the lead truck and 10% for the follow truck in a two-truck platoon.

The Peloton system requires each truck to be equipped with best-in-class safety features including state-of-the-art collision avoidance, lane departure warning and air disc brakes – making every truck individually safer.

Similar to adaptive cruise control, which already is used widely in the trucking industry and in light duty vehicles, the Peloton system controls vehicle speed by applying automated brake and throttle commands. Drivers in a platoon retain steering control and command of their vehicles at all times, and can choose to dissolve platooning in response to changing conditions. Platooning is a new approach to the long trucking tradition of team driving.

Because it automates a single driving function — speed — while leaving other aspects of driving to professional truck drivers, the Peloton system qualifies as a Level 1 “driving automation system” under the J3016 definitions of the Society of Automotive Engineers International. The Peloton system employs Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), cellular LTE and WiFi communications to connect trucks to each other and to an Internet cloud-based Network Operations Center (NOC) that provides continuous management and supervision of trucks and platoons. The NOC dynamically limits truck platooning to appropriate road, weather and traffic conditions. Its geo-fencing function will ensure that any truck platoons which are authorized to operate in Michigan can adjust operations before crossing into states that may have different rules for platooning.

About Peloton Technology

Peloton is a connected and automated vehicle technology company dedicated to improving the safety and efficiency of U.S. and global freight transportation. Backed by ten Fortune Global 500 companies, Silicon Valley-based Peloton partners with customers to deliver innovative tools that save fuel, avoid crashes, and improve operational insight through connectivity, automation and advanced data analytics. Peloton’s flagship driver-assistive platooning system links the active safety systems of pairs of trucks, and connects them to a cloud-based Network Operations Center that limits platooning to appropriate roads and conditions. Peloton solutions also improve the safety of individual trucks by requiring best-in-class forward collision avoidance systems and other safety features that are active both in and out of platoon. For more information, explore our site and follow Peloton on Twitter @pelotontech.