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The future of large truck technology: Platooning

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The idea of self-driving cars may be gaining acceptance by New Yorkers, but what about the advent of automated large trucks? Those who are in the trucking industry may well be on their way to understanding the technology currently under development and the potential issues. However, drivers of passenger vehicles should also be aware of the effects truck convoys may have in traffic.

The American Trucking Association explains that there are various levels of vehicle automation. Truck platooning, which uses technology to connect many functions of two tractor trailers traveling closely together, would not necessarily put a driver in full control of both vehicles. Instead, two linked trucks would each have a driver. Using adaptive cruise control – a system that adjusts to forward traffic automatically – the driver in the rear would be able to steer, but would not use the gas or brake pedals when the trucks are linked.

According to Trucking Info, the logistics of truck platooning have not all been worked out. For example, many may wonder if is there a higher risk of distraction for the second driver. Alertness on the highway would be critical if the second driver must respond to an emergency situation, such as a vehicle cutting between the trucks. In addition, a sudden stop by the lead trucker would require even more rapid braking from the second.

There has been extensive testing of these systems in other countries. However, the laws and driving styles in the United States are different, and may even vary from state to state. Drivers of passenger vehicles will need more information to understand how to interact with platoons on the highways in New York and avoid truck accidents.

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