The Future of Automobiles: Automated Truck Platooning

Another brilliant use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) currently in the testing phase is truck platooning for shipping purposes. A truck platoon is a caravan or grouping of semi-trucks, buses, or vans that are all leaving from and arriving at the same locations. Like automated cars, truck platoons can either be fully or semi-automated. However, presently, they are only being tested for semi-automation as current infrastructure cannot safely support fully autonomous truck platoons. These autonomous trucks would have much difficulty in tight urban locations and roundabouts requiring them to be led by a human.

Semi-Autonomous Truck Platoons

Semi-automated platoons have one truck at the front designated as the platoon leader. This truck is fully operated by a human while the trailing vehicles follow the leader using spatial awareness from sensors, machine learning, and geolocational tracking. Additionally, all vehicles are on a wireless data-sharing network. This allows all information to be reported back to the platoon leader. In addition, data can be sent and received from a stationary, central location in case the autonomous vehicle runs into any problems. From there, a supervisor could remote control the vehicles or relay more info back to the platoon leader. If the platoon was fully autonomous, every truck would be monitored and could be controlled from this central location.

Future of Truck Platoons

Today, fully autonomous truck platooning and even consumer driving is possible, but not safe without the contingency of human intervention. Without the human instinct and cognition to react to foreign circumstances, there would be plenty more accidents on the roads. But with semi-automated truck platoons, shipping can be more efficient, less costly, and much easier. With semi-automated consumer vehicles, people can safely and comfortably travel stress-free.

Truck Platoon Simulations

Training using simulated platoons would be highly beneficial for both the student platoon leader (human) as well as the AI’s neural network.

Up Next

Next, we’ll head off-road to dive into AI in transport preparations and traffic management.

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