Truck platooning an evolving pathway to full autonomy

“We are tantalizingly close,” a recent blog post by Pittsburgh-based Locomation asserted regarding true driverless vehicles navigating public roadways. “But the challenges that remain on the pathway to commercialization will keep the dream at bay for some time to come.” Instead, the tech company’s approach to autonomy keeps a human firmly seated in the cab — at least in the lead vehicle of a truck platoon.

Locomation’s proprietary Autonomous Relay Convoying (ARC) technology has an AI-controlled follower truck that uses its own perception and information exchanged over dedicated short-range inter-vehicle communication (DSRC) to follow the human-driven leader truck. The follower truck remains aware of its surroundings and is cognizant of potential threats, according to Locomation, but it leaves most of the high-level driving decisions to the human and is only concerned with mimicking the maneuvers of the lead truck.