Autonomous truck platoons offer benefits that might not be immediately apparent to the average road-tripper.
Two or more semis following each other at a distance of 40 to 60 feet can seem like they're operated by thrill-seeking drivers, but the real thrill-seekers are the trucking companies, which are looking for a high-tech way to save fuel and, at the same time, combat a rising problem: a shortage of truck drivers.
The U.S. is expected to have a shortage of 176,000 truckers by 2026, according to Rod McLane, vice president of marketing for Peloton Technology, a Silicon Valley company focused on automated technology for freight hauling.
Platooning allows digitally connected trucks to save fuel by driving close together in a convoy.
In December 2018, a McKinsey study predicted that any platooning solution that allows trucks to operate without a driver in the second truck would not hit roads until 2022, with full driverless trucks not arriving until 2027 or later.