Locomation, pursuing an autonomous two-truck convoy approach while others are working on equipping one truck for self-driving, claims an environmental impact study shows double-digit improvements in fuel consumption and total operating costs for moving freight by truck.
The electronically tethered trucks will start out with human drivers in both trucks, but only the lead truck will have a driver in control. The following truck will operate as a robot, allowing the driver to work on other tasks or sleep before swapping roles with the lead truck and remaining compliant with federal hours-of-service regulations.
The approach would allow Locomation-equipped trucks to operate two trucks for 20-22 hours a day delivering twice the cargo twice the distance. Locomation is alone in pursuing a convoy, or platooning, approach to autonomous trucking. Competitors are focused on equipping a single truck to operate without a human driver.