“Platooning” is an automated transportation technology in which two or more vehicles follow each other closely to reduce aerodynamic drag and increase roadway throughput. Current platooned heavy trucks are equipped with technology including longitudinal control (fore/aft) and vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Lateral (side/side) control is included in more advanced systems. Heavy truck platooning has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 10% while improving safety. Several U.S. platooning technology developers have successfully demonstrated truck platooning on test vehicles.
Recognizing the potential benefits to traffic safety, the economy, and the environment, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Transportation awarded Energetics with a contract to perform a technical and policy assessment study of heavy truck platooning to determine the energy and safety benefits to the state and the policy barriers that could prevent its use. Staff investigated heavy truck platooning technology readiness; the projected commercialization timeframe; fleet knowledge of, interest in, and estimated timeframe for deploying the technology; and the potential policy solutions to address barriers to safe truck platooning in New York State (NYS). Data were collected via literature review and industry expert interviews. Energetics worked with the assembled technical advisory committee to obtain information and analysis feedback. The committee comprised platooning technology developers, heavy truck manufacturers, third-party technology analysts, fleet end users, and NYS roadway operators.
Study findings, presented in a written report, indicated that platooning technology would be ready in the near future, with initial productions projected in the 2017–2018 timeframe, but regulatory development would delay widespread deployment. The analysis also identifies existing regulatory and legal barriers and potential policy solutions to these issues, as well as references to how other states have addressed these topics. The report is available on the NYSERDA website: NYSERDA Truck Platooning Policy Barriers Study