Students in Dispatcher Training, Check Out How Two-Truck Platoons Can Improve Fuel Economy
November 4, 2016
Trucking operation firms are always looking for innovative new ways to improve their fleet’s fuel efficiency. Large fleets are often travelling thousands of kilometres on a daily basis, so any small positive change in fuel consumption can add up to make a huge difference in operational costs.
With studies being conducted in the U.S, Europe, and Asia, it’s clear there’s a global effort underway to reduce fuel consumption and costs. These studies are testing the idea of Cooperative Truck Platooning Systems (CTPS), which involve trucks driving close to one another to improve fuel economy.
Interested in how this works and how it can improve truck fuel efficiency? Read on to learn more!
Pros With Dispatch Training Might Know How Two-Truck Platoons Work
CTPS uses physics to its advantage and capitalizes on aerodynamics. In the platoon there are two trucks, a lead and a follow. As the trucks drive down a highway, the lead truck takes the brunt of the force and creates an aerodynamic sweet spot about 40 to 50 feet behind it. This is where the follow truck will drive as the lead truck creates a low pressure area that is easier on the follow truck’s engine, therefore allowing it to use less fuel.
As a student in dispatch training, you may know there are many technologies and techniques that have claimed to reduce fuel consumption, but statistics are what really matter. Fortunately, a recent study on CTPS indicated fuel savings between 4.5 per cent and 21 per cent, depending on several different factors.
Students in Dispatch Courses Should Know Extra Technology Is Required
As any trucking expert knows, following distances of 40 to 50 feet at highway speeds can be incredibly dangerous. Not only are they scary, they also break some laws about required following distances between vehicles. However, CTPS would utilize several other technologies in order to make the system work safely.
Students in dispatcher training may know that, although there is still far to go, there are steps being taken to bring automation to the trucking industry. Thus, technology already exists that could be useful for truck platooning. For example, collision avoidance systems could be installed, as well as adaptive cruise control. This would allow trucks to drive in unison at the same speed, and if the lead truck braked, then the follow truck could brake automatically as well. CTPS will also need additional sensor data between vehicles and platooning-specific software for effective communication.
If the system does become widely adopted in the future, dispatchers may see higher levels of automation technology, perhaps even self-driving platoons.
Pros With Dispatch Training May Know There Are Several Factors to Consider
Although CTPS is very exciting, there are several factors to consider about its ability to improve fuel economy. A vehicle’s size, type, and weight can all alter the effectiveness of this technique. The smaller the gap between vehicles, for example, the better the fuel efficiency will become. On the other hand, if the gap increases, it will lose its positive effect. In the real world, trucks may not be able to stay in formation consistently, because they may have vehicles cut between them. These changes in formation would reduce improvements in fuel economy.
It is also important to consider weather conditions. For example, during snow storms, a platoon formation may not even be feasible, because it may be too dangerous to follow closely. Also, if winds are unfavourable it could reduce the effectiveness of the aerodynamic zone created by the lead vehicle. Luckily, CTPS is still in the testing and development phases, so trucking fleets might be able to find solutions to mitigate these factors.
Are you interested in the trucking industry? A dispatch course may be right for you!
Contact Automotive Training Centres today to get started!
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