CEO Joshua Switkes told Automotive News that Peloton will deliver the first packages to customers late next year. "We will purposely slow down our initial rollout to make sure it's going well," Switkes said. "But in 2018, we want to deliver as many systems as truck fleets will buy."
Peloton's platoon customers will be limited to two vehicles and operate on rural highways in states that allow properly equipped trucks to tailgate each other.
In theory, V2V transponders can help vehicles avoid collisions by signaling their locations to one another. The newly proposed DOT rule would require 100 percent of cars to have V2V technology in about five years.
Cadillac has announced plans to equip its vehicles with transponders, but other automakers have adopted a wait-and-see approach. Uncertain now is how the proposed mandate will fare under the incoming Trump administration.
In 2013, pairs of Peloton-equipped Peterbilt rigs traveled up and down Interstate 80 in Utah to gauge their fuel savings. The lead trucks cut fuel consumption by 4.5 percent, while the trailing rigs saved 10 percent.
Improved fuel economy will be a major lure for truckers, and it has helped Peloton attract some big-name financial backers.
Denso Corp., which has developed its own V2V data links, has taken a financial stake in Peloton. Other investors include Magna International Inc., Volvo Group, UPS Inc. and Intel Corp.
"We are working on some vehicle-to-vehicle technologies, so the opportunity to deploy it was the initial interest for us," said Tony Cannestra, Denso's director of corporate ventures. "Peloton seemed like a logical first place."