Truck Platooning trials to come to Western Australia

US-based automated and connected vehicle technology company Peloton Technology, and the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI) yesterday announced an industry partnership that will explore the safety and fuel efficiency benefits of truck platooning in Australia.

Telecommunications provider Telstra is also set to join the initiative with support from the Western Australian Road Transport Association and the Government of Western Australia.

The Australian freight trucking sector is a key component of the Australian economy, transporting two billion tons of goods over 17 billion kilometres per year while directly generating more than 4% of Australia's GDP.

ADVI, a cooperative effort of government, industry, and academia, is exploring the impacts and requirements of vehicle automation with a goal of realising the full economic, social and environmental benefits of the technology in the trucking industry and other transportation sectors.

ADVI recognises first generation driver-assistive truck platooning as a promising technology for near-term deployment, and has identified Peloton Technology as a key collaborator in investigating the use of these systems in Australia.

"Australia's driving conditions and the long distances of our truck routes between urban centres make truck platooning a particularly promising technology to enhance the industry," said Ms Rita Excell, Executive Director of the ADVI Centre of Excellence.

"In addition, truck platooning mixed with higher levels of automation can bring greater safety, efficiency and productivity to fleets operating on Australia's extensive network of private roads. We look forward to holding joint discussions involving Peloton and Australian trucking fleets to identify specific opportunities to apply this technology going forward.

"It is great to see Australia join the growing list of markets worldwide that are adopting emerging technologies that enhance vehicle safety and efficiency," said Peloton CEO Joshua Switkes. "ADVI and the other partners coming together provide Peloton with a great gateway to work with the key Australian industry, fleet and government partners needed for us enter this important new market."

The industry team also includes Telstra, the leading telecommunications company in Australia and a major player delivering solutions to Australian fleets. 

"Telstra in association with ADVI welcomes the opportunity to explore the adaption of truck platooning technology in Australia, in collaboration with key stakeholders within the Transport and Logistics industry," said Ms Agnes Sheehan, Director, Enterprise Mobility Global Enterprise & Services at Telstra. 

"Telstra's breadth and depth of our 4G and future 5G networks will underpin Peloton Technology's systems in Australia, providing the secure exchange of information to Peloton's centrally managed Network Operations Centre.

"This will provide fuel savings, safety and efficiency gains in supply chain logistics.

"As part of our continued work in future transport solutions, collaboration with fleet operators, regulators and technology vendors is important to ensure there is a holistic approach to introducing this technology and ensuring all stakeholders views are represented.

"Transformational innovation within the Transport Sector is happening at a rapid pace and will continue to evolve, it's working collaboratively which will enable acceptance and adaption within this sector."   

The Western Australian Government has approved testing and fleet trials for truck platooning and the leadership at Main Roads Western Australia has backed the state's readiness for this technology.

The partnership has also been welcomed by the Western Australian Road Transport Association, the leading regional association of commercial vehicle operators.

"This partnership represents a real opportunity for our WA industry to participate at the forefront of road transport industry innovation, safety and productivity," said Cam Dumesny, spokesman for the Association.

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