Automation in the long haul: Challenges and opportunities of autonomous heavyduty trucking in the United States


Automation in the long haul: Challenges
and opportunities of autonomous heavy-
duty trucking in the United States
Authors: Peter Slowik and Ben Sharpe
Date: March 26, 2018
Keywords: Autonomous, heavy-duty vehicles

1. Introduction                                       The implications of autonomous                          • increased operational efficiency
                                                      trucking are broad and extend beyond                      (e.g., real-time planning, reduced
Research and development in autono-
                                                      the trucking sector to include infra-                     truck downtime); and
mous vehicle technologies has taken
                                                      structure, urban planning, cyber
place for more than two decades,                                                                              • reduced labor costs (i.e., technol-
                                                      security, privacy, and insurance. Within
with interest and investment prolif-                                                                            ogy reduces or eliminates the need
                                                      the freight trucking sector, many see
erating in recent years sparked by                                                                              for human drivers).
                                                      a future where the technology dra-
breakthroughs in sensing, commu-                      matically alters the truck driver ’s                  This paper explores the state of auton-
nications, and computing technolo-                    responsibilities and may eventually                   omous trucking technology and the
gies. The majority of investments and                 eliminate the need for a driver. Several              benefits and drawbacks of its adoption
media attention to date have been                     industry groups envision autonomous                   from multiple stakeholder perspec-
concentrated in the passenger vehicle                 vehicle technology as an attractive                   tives. We are especially interested in
space (Slowik & Kamakaté, 2017), yet                  return on investment, with potentially                how autonomous technology will affect
the technologies and their capabili-                  large economic benefits. However, the                 fuel use and emissions in the on-road
ties carry over to freight trucks and                 extent of these benefits is generally                 freight sector This paper is also a first
the commercial vehicle sector. An                     unknown to date, and there are also                   step toward better understanding the
increasing number of stakeholders                     risks and drawbacks to adoption of                    existing regulatory landscape and the
are actively involved in bringing this                autonomous trucking. From a typical
                                                                                                            types of policy measures needed to
technology to on-road commercial                      fleet perspective, the potential impacts
                                                                                                            responsibly bring fuel-saving autono-
vehicles—especially, tractor-trailers.                of autonomous trucking include
                                                                                                            mous trucking technology to market.
With heavy-duty tractor-trailers
                                                        • improved on-road safety (i.e.,                    The data and analysis presented in this
accounting for a disproportionately                       fewer collisions and fatalities);                 study focus on North America. More
high share of negative impacts—
                                                        • greater fuel efficiency and                       research is needed to better under-
including local air pollutants, green-
                                                          reduced emissions (i.e., higher                   stand the challenges and opportunities
house gas emissions, and fuel con-
                                                          miles-per-gallon);                                presented by autonomous trucking in
sumption (Sharpe, 2017)—the sector
                                                                                                            other regions around the world.
is ripe for the application of autono-                  • ease of driving (e.g., automation
mous technology, perhaps even more                        technologies increasingly control                 Table 1 outlines the levels of automa-
so than the passenger vehicle sector.                     vehicle functions);                               tion, as defined by SAE International

Acknowledgements: This work is supported by the 11th Hour Project of the Schmidt Family Foundation. Fanta Kamakaté provided valuable input to the
development of this report. Ulises Hernandez, Nic Lutsey, and Rachel Muncrief of the International Council on Clean Transportation and Mike Roeth of the
North American Council for Freight Efficiency provided critical reviews on an earlier version of the report. Their review does not imply an endorsement, and
any errors are the authors’ own.

© INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON CLEAN TRANSPORTATION, 2018                                                                                  WWW.THEICCT.ORG

(2014) and adopted by the U.S. federal               hardware such as a steering wheel or             We review and summarize the relevant
government, and offers examples.                     brake and accelerator pedals.                    research literature on automated and
                                                     The remainder of the paper is orga-              connected heavy-duty vehicle tech-
From Level 0 to Level 5, the auto-
                                                     nized as follows. In Section 2, we               nologies, costs, deployment, and the
mated vehicle system progressively
                                                     summarize the current state of auton-            implications of truck platooning and
handles additional tasks and increas-
                                                     omous trucking technology, high-                 other technologies on fuel economy.
ingly monitors the driving environ-
                                                     lighting the relevant technologies,              Our review includes literature from
ment. Level 0 trucks may still include
                                                     costs, and demonstrations, empha-                independent researchers, academia,
advanced technologies such as active
                                                     sizing those that promise to improve             national laboratories, federal agencies,
safety systems (e.g., automatic emer-
                                                     fuel economy. Section 3 introduces               nongovernmental organizations, and
gency braking) or warning features                                                                    industry stakeholders.
(e.g., lane departure warning), but                  several societal acceptance con-
                                                     siderations related to autonomous                Automated and connected heavy-
b e c a u s e t h e s e fe at u re s p rov i d e
                                                     trucking and discusses the potential             duty vehicle technologies, costs, and
momentary intervention and are not
                                                     benefits and drawbacks of technol-               deployment. Table 2 outlines several
sustained, they are considered Level
                                                     ogy adoption. Section 4 outlines                 examples of automated and connected
0 as defined by the J3016 standard
                                                     the current policy landscape in the              vehicle technologies and technology
p u b l i s h e d by SA E I n te r n a t i o n a l
                                                     United States. Section 5 summa-                  applications identified in the heavy-
(2016). As shown in Table 1, heavy-
                                                     rizes the findings from 15 interviews            duty trucking space. Broadly speaking,
duty trucks capable of Level 0 and
                                                     with industry experts that explore               a handful of sensor, communication,
Level 1 automation are commercially                  technical, economic, and societal                and processing software technolo-
available today, and trucks with Level               barriers to higher levels of automa-             gies are enabling varying degrees of
2 capabilities are rapidly nearing                   tion in trucking, as well as the poten-          trucking autonomy by commanding
commercialization. A small number of                 tial ways that policy can effectively            actuators such as steering and braking.
trucking demonstrations considered                   address these issues. In Section 6,              As shown, vehicle sensor technologies
Level 3 have occurred to date. For                   we conclude by outlining several key             include cameras, radar, LiDAR (which
autonomous vehicle systems Levels                    reflections from our research and                stands for light detection and ranging),
3+, the technology is responsible for                highlight areas for future work.                 and GPS units. Connected vehicle tech-
monitoring the driving environment                                                                    nologies allow for communications
and is in control of vehicle functions
                                                     2. State of autonomous
                                                                                                      across vehicles (vehicle-to-vehicle) and
and decision making. Autonomous                      trucking technology                              infrastructure (vehicle-to-infrastruc-
vehicles Level 4+ do not require                     This section provides an overview of             ture), commonly referred to as V2V
human intervention, which means                      the current technology landscape for             or V2I. The current leading vehicle
these vehicles theoretically could                   autonomous heavy-duty trucking and               communications technology is dedi-
be manufactured without typical                      what it might mean for fuel economy.             cated short-range communications

Table 1. Description of levels of automation

 Level              Name                                     Description                                   Examples                    status
                                       Human performs all driving tasks, even if enhanced by                                      Commercially
    0     No automation                                                                           Navistar LT, Peterbilt 579
                                       active safety systems.                                                                     available
                                       Vehicle can perform sustained control of either steering   Peloton Platooning System, Commercially
    1     Driver assistance
                                       or acceleration/deceleration.                              Volvo VNL                  available
                                       Vehicle can perform sustained control of both steering
    2     Partial automation                                                                      Embark, Starsky Robotics        Pre-commercial
                                       and acceleration/deceleration.
                                       All tasks can be controlled by the system in some          Freightliner Inspiration,
    3     Conditional automation                                                                                                  Prototype retrofit
                                       situations. Human intervention may be required.            Uber ATG / Otto
                                       All tasks can be handled by the system without
                                                                                                                                  Research and
    4     High automation              human intervention, but in limited environments (e.g.,     Not currently available
                                       dedicated lanes or zones).
                                       Automated system can handle all roadway conditions                                         Research and
    5     Full automation                                                                         Not currently available
                                       and environments.                                                                          development

2   INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON CLEAN TRANSPORTATION                                                                            WORKING PAPER 2018-06

(DSRC), but research in 5G mobile              sensing information from other nearby             commercial vehicle sectors, as the core
network and other technologies could           vehicles, allowing them to effectively            sensing, communications, and software
also facilitate vehicle connectivity in        “see” the road ahead beyond the imme-             technologies are generally applica-
the future (National Academies of              diate surroundings that are captured by           ble to both the light-duty and heavy
Science, Engineering, and Medicine,            the vehicles’ own sensing technologies.           trucking sectors (National Academies
2017). Software is needed to process           Many of these technologies are avail-             of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,
information gathered from sensors and          able today and are being purchased by             2017). The list of industry players is far
communications and control vehicle             several fleets (North American Council            from exhaustive; Comet Labs mapped
functions. Autonomous and connected            for Freight Efficiency [NACFE], 2016).            out a chart of more than 250 companies
vehicle technologies frequently are dis-       The farthest right column of the table            that are pursuing autonomous vehicles
cussed together because of the syner-          shows examples of companies that are              (Stewart, 2017). Furthermore, we note
gies between them, yet the technolo-           involved in manufacturing one or more             that many companies do not disclose
gies may be deployed and adopted               autonomous and connected vehicle                  information about which technologies
separately. Connectivity allows autono-        technologies. Many of these companies             they manufacture in-house and which
mous vehicles to process the additional        are active in both the passenger car and          they purchase from parts suppliers.

Table 2. Example automated and connected vehicle technologies in on-road heavy-duty trucking

                                                                                                             Commercially     technology
   Technology      Components                                   Description                                   available?        makers
                                   Used to identify other objects using visible light. Cameras have
                                   limitations compared to other sensor technologies and function                           Continental,
                     Cameras                                                                                     Yes
                                   poorly in darkness, extremely bright light, and certain weather                          Mobileye, Delphi
                                   Used to identify the velocity, direction, and distance of other objects
                      Radar                                                                                      Yes        Continental,
                                   by emitting high-frequency radio waves.
                                                                                                                            Autoliv, Delphi
                                   Considered the most reliable and robust sensing technology. LiDAR                        Velodyne LiDAR,
                                   measures the range and speed of objects using reflected light.                           LeddarTech,
                      LiDAR        Range and speed are measured based on the time that laser light               Yes        Quanenergy,
                                   takes to reflect. LiDAR systems can process and record images.                           Delphi, Strobe,
                                   (National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration [NHTSA], 2013).                      Waymo
                                   Used to identify vehicle position and velocity by communicating                          Linx
                         GPS                                                                                     Yes
                                   with satellite signals.                                                                  Technologies
                                   Dedicated short range communications (DSRC) is two-way
                                   communications in 5.9 GHz band that allows for high data
                                   transmission over a moderate range. DSRC allows for V2V and V2I
                      DSRC         communications which can send messages and provide alerts to                  Yes        NXP, Qualcomm
                                   drivers in real time. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT,
                                   2017a) considers this technology the basis for intelligent vehicle
                                   safety application integration.
                                   The 5th generation wireless systems currently under development
                                   will allow for higher capacity and better coverage with less latency.
                                   5G is expected to support device-to-device communications
                                                                                                                            Not currently
                         5G        with increased reliability. 5G is believed to be a promising                  No
                                   communications technology with applications for connected and
                                   autonomous vehicles within the next decade (National Academies of
                                   Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2017).
                                   Millions of lines of software code enable autonomous and connected
                                   trucking. Computing software systems are used to process images
                                                                                                                            Nvidia, Intel,
                    Algorithms,    captured from sensor technologies, interpret communications
                                                                                                               Yes, with    Autoliv, Cisco,
Software              artificial   messages from other vehicles or infrastructure, and control
                                                                                                              limitations   Uber ATG, many
                    intelligence   vehicle functions in real time. Software refinement and validation
                                   is considered a much larger challenge than deploying sensor and
                                   communication hardware (Tesla, 2016).

WORKING PAPER 2018-06                                                               INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON CLEAN TRANSPORTATION             3

Sensors, communication, and process-        volumes and broader commercializa-            commercial adoption. For example,
ing software enable a variety of vehicle    tion. This information is needed to           Meritor Wabco’s OnGuardActive col-
applications including but not limited      better assess the value proposition for       lision mitigation system is reported
to driver alerts and collision avoid-       fleets to adopt various autonomous            to be in 120,000 heavy-duty trucks
ance systems, automatic braking, lane       trucking technologies. There are several      (Meritor Wabco, 2017). Not exclu-
keeping assistance, adaptive cruise         potential direct and indirect economic        sive to heavy-duty trucks, Mobileye’s
control, platooning, and eco-driving        benefits that autonomous trucking             Advanced Driver Assistance System
optimization. Many of these technology      may offer, and a deeper understanding         is used in nearly 15 million vehicles
applications are described in greater       of the costs will better inform the pace      worldwide (Mobileye, 2017b). A study
detail in Table 3. A few examples of        and scale of technology adoption.             by Rodríguez, Muncrief, Delgado, and
companies that offer, or seek to offer,                                                   Baldino (2017) estimated the market
                                            In addition to what the research lit-
automated and connected vehicle                                                           penetration of several heavy-duty
                                            erature reveals about autonomous
technology applications in the trucking                                                   vehicle technologies in the United
                                            trucking technology costs, rough esti-
sector are shown in the column farthest                                                   States and the EU, including auto-
                                            mates can be compiled using infor-
to the right.                                                                             mated manual transmissions (AMTs),
                                            mation from third-party parts sup-
The market demand for autonomous                                                          predictive cruise control (PCC), and
                                            pliers. For example, a review of the
vehicle technologies of low and high                                                      adaptive cruise control (ACC). The
                                            parts components for Meritor Wabco’s
levels of automation is quite strong,                                                     2015 U.S. and EU market penetration
                                            OnGuardActive system, a radar-based
and numerous industry groups are                                                          of these technologies in new tractor-
                                            active collision mitigation and adaptive
aggressively developing products. In                                                      trailers was 28% (U.S.) and 70% (EU)
                                            cruise control system, on the inde-
the future, additional advancements                                                       for AMTs, 3% (U.S.) and 20% (EU) for
                                            pendent truck parts marketplace fin-
in vehicle sensor quality, bandwidth                                                      PCC, and 10% (U.S.) and 50% (EU) for
                                   website suggests system
availability for vehicle communica-                                                       ACC. More research is needed to more
                                            costs of around $2,500 to $3,500. This
tions, and processing software and                                                        fully identify the suite of autonomous-
                                            is roughly in line with the costs for other
algorithms are likely to enable more                                                      vehicle-related technologies that have
                                            similar technology applications docu-
robust technology applications and                                                        been adopted to date and the fleets
                                            mented in Table 4. There also has been
higher levels of automation.                                                              that are adopting them.
                                            some speculation in the media about
Return on investment (ROI) is often         technology costs. As reported for the         Technological barriers remain for com-
a key factor influencing the adoption       American Transportation Research              mercial deployment of heavy-duty
of new technologies on freight appli-       Institute by Short and Murray (2016),         truck platooning and higher levels
cations. Upfront technology costs           additional technology costs for Uber’s        of automation (Levels 3+). Despite
and per-mile operating costs are core       retrofitted long-haul truck—believed to       current barriers, researchers and
components that influence the value         be Level 3, as identified earlier in this     industry stakeholders have made pre-
proposition for fleet adoption. Table 4     report—as well as Daimler’s Freightliner      dictions about the commercial avail-
shows some estimates of the upfront         Inspiration, which also is believed to        ability and uptake of autonomous
costs for several examples of autono-       be Level 3, have been estimated at            trucks. A few of these predictions are
mous heavy-duty vehicle technologies        $30,000 per truck (McNabb, 2015;              documented here.
and systems.                                Stewart, 2016). These cost estimates            • NACFE (2016) reports that “it is
                                            for a Level 3 truck are approximately             extremely likely that in the near
Several of the technologies shown in
                                            twice the estimates reported in Roland            future, Class 8 tractors will be sold
Table 4 cost only a few hundred dollars.
                                            Berger (2016). One reason for the large           as platooning capable ‘right out of
These include driver assistance and
                                            discrepancy may be the difference in              the box’” (unspecified, assumed
driver alert systems, which typically are
                                            assessing the cost of a single retrofit           Level 2).
purchased for safety and collision miti-
                                            prototype versus assuming some level
gation. While there are some estimates,                                                     • Commercial deployment of pla-
less information is known about the         of market adoption and achieving
                                                                                              tooning applications (unspecified,
technology costs for trucking automa-       economies of scale.
                                                                                              assumed Level 2) could occur
tion for Levels 3 and above, especially     Several of the technologies and                   around 2020 on select U.S. roads
the projected cost reductions that          systems shown in Table 4 are available            (National Academies of Sciences,
would stem from increased production        today, and some have had notable                  Engineering, and Medicine, 2017).

4   INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON CLEAN TRANSPORTATION                                                          WORKING PAPER 2018-06

Table 3. Examples of automated and connected vehicle technology applications in on-road heavy-duty trucking

  Technology       Technologies                                                                                         Commercially      Example
  applications         used                                           Description                                        available?      companies
                  Sensors such      These systems send an audible or haptic warning to drivers when there is
Lane departure    as cameras,       risk of the vehicle unintentionally drifting outside of the lane. This technology
                                                                                                                             Yes        Meritor
warning           processing        is considered Level 0 because it does nothing more than alert a driver.
                  software          (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2017).
                  Sensors such
                                    Blind spot detection devices can detect if other vehicles are located in the
                  as cameras                                                                                                            Mobileye,
Blind spot                          driver’s blind spots and notify the driver. The alerts can be audible, haptic,
                  and radar,                                                                                                 Yes        Meritor
detection                           or visual. Like lane departure warnings, blind spot detection alerts are
                  processing                                                                                                            Wabco, Volvo
                                    considered Level 0.
                  Sensors such                                                                                                          Scania, DAF,
                                    Automatic braking systems can detect the speed and distance of vehicles
                  as cameras                                                                                                            Daimler,
Automatic                           ahead of them and automatically apply the brakes if needed. This technology
                  and radar,                                                                                                 Yes        Meritor
braking                             is considered Level 0 because the feature provides momentary intervention
                  processing                                                                                                            Wabco, Volvo,
                                    and is not sustained.
                  software                                                                                                              Bendix
Automated         Electronic        Automated manual transmissions control the operation of the clutch and
manual            control unit,     gear selection automatically, based on information gathered from vehicle                            Eaton, Volvo,
transmissions     hydraulics,       sensors. AMTs are an enabling technology and are generally required on all                          Daimler
(AMT)             software          Level 1+ autonomous trucks.
                                    A system that monitors human driving and provides real-time advice and                              TomTom,
Eco-driving       monitoring
                                    feedback for drivers to achieve greater fuel performance, for example by                 Yes        Ruptela,
systems           and processing
                                    moderating highway speed and by smoothing acceleration and braking.                                 SmartDrive
                  Sensors such
                  as cameras        These systems monitor the vehicle placement within road lane markings. If                           Scania,
                  or radar,         the vehicle is departing the lane, the system corrects the lateral direction             Yes        Meritor
lane keeping
                  processing        automatically. The technology is considered Level 1.                                                Wabco
                  Sensors such
                                    Adaptive cruise control adjusts vehicle speed, controlling throttle and                             Meritor
Adaptive cruise   as radar,
                                    braking, based on the speed of the vehicle in front of it in order to maintain a         Yes        Wabco, DAF,
control (ACC)     processing
                                    set distance. ACC technology is considered Level 1.                                                 Volvo, Bendix
                  GPS,              Predictive cruise control combines cruise control with GPS and topographical
Predictive        topographical     data inputs, altering vehicle speed to optimize performance over various
cruise control    mapping data,     types of terrain. PCC technology provides maximum benefits in conditions                 Yes
(PCC)             processing        with rolling hills. The technology is considered Level 1. PCC and ACC can be
                  software          active simultaneously or the functions could be offered separately.
                  Sensors such
                  as radar,         Platooning is when groups of vehicles travel close together to minimize
                  processing        aerodynamic drag. Truck platooning typically includes sets of two or three           Yes (Level 1),
                  software,         trucks paired together using sensor and communication technologies.                 Level 2 systems
Platooning                                                                                                                              Volvo, Uber
                  could also        At basic levels, ACC alone (Level 1) could enable truck platooning. More                are pre-
                                                                                                                                        ATG, Daimler
                  include vehicle   advanced platooning technology controls for both longitudinal (ACC) and               commercial
                  communications    lateral (automated lane keeping) movements and is considered Level 2.
                  using DSRC
                  Will likely
                                    Highly automated trucks will be capable of operating autonomously without
Highly                              human intervention in limited environments such as dedicated areas or
                  cameras, radar,                                                                                                       Daimler, Uber
automated                           highway lanes. Highly automated trucks (Level 4+) are not commercially                   No
                  LiDAR, DSRC,                                                                                                          ATG
trucking                            available for on-road applications today, but there are a few examples of
                                    their use in mining and farming operations.
                                    Telematics systems combine telecommunications and informatics, which
                  GPS, DSRC, or
                                    is the collection, classification, storage, retrieval, and dissemination of
                  other wireless
                                    information. Telematics equip fleet managers with valuable real-time data
                  communications                                                                                                        Zonar,
                                    such as vehicle location, speed, service needs, weather, road conditions, and
Telematics        technology,                                                                                                Yes        Geotab,
                                    driver performance. Telematics are expected to complement connected
                  asset                                                                                                                 Openmatics
                                    and autonomous vehicles, for example by enabling the transmission and
                                    processing of communications data from nearby vehicles, or by facilitating
                                    identifying opportunities to link vehicles to form a platoon.

WORKING PAPER 2018-06                                                                    INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON CLEAN TRANSPORTATION                 5

Table 4. Estimated costs for examples of autonomous and connected truck technologies and technology applications

                             Technology or
    Study or reference        application             Technology description               Cost        Time frame                                  Notes
                                                                                                          “A few
                                                                                                                        Cost estimates are per unit. Companies typically install
                                                Considered the most robust               $75,000        years ago”
                                                                                                                        one to four LiDAR units per vehicle. Waymo CEO John
Waymo (2017)                LiDAR               sensing technology for processing                      (unspecified)
                                                                                                                        Krafcik revealed the company has reduced the cost of
                                                                                          $7,500           2017         $75,000 “top-of-the-range” LiDAR units by 90%.

                                                                                          $100 to
Nordrum, A. (2016)          DSRC modules        V2V communications hardware.                           Around 2016      Cost estimates are for DSRC module made by NXP.
                                                                                                                        NHTSA estimates the cost of V2V equipment and
                                                                                                                        communications functions for light-duty vehicles. The
                            V2V                 V2V communications equipment              $341 to
Harding et al. (2014)                                                                                      2020         technologies include DSRC transmitter/receiver, DSRC
                            communications      and functions.                             $350
                                                                                                                        antenna, electronic control unit, GPS, GPS antenna, wiring,
                                                                                                                        and displays.
U.S. Environmental                              A transmission that facilitates truck     $5,100           2013
                             Automated                                                                                  EPA and NHTSA estimate the cost of automated manual
Protection Agency                               shifting by utilizing a computer and
                            manual                                                                                      transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and
[EPA] and NHTSA                                 eliminating the manual shifter and        $3,750           2018
                            transmission                                                                                report the values in 2013 dollars.
(2016a)                                         clutch.
National Academies of                           A system of sensors that identifies
                            Blind spot                                                   $250 to         Available
Sciences, Engineering,                          vehicles in the driver’s blind spots                                    Cost estimates are for aftermarket system cost.
                            detection system                                              $850            today
and Medicine (2017)                             and provides a warning.
                                                                                                                        A driver alert safety package that offers a variety of alerts
National Academies of       Mobileye                                                                                    and driver assistance features including forward collision
                                                Driver assistance through collision        $850
Sciences, Engineering,      Advanced Driver                                                              Available      warning, lane departure warning, headway monitoring
                                                avoidance intelligent vision sensor      with $150
and Medicine (2017),        Assistance                                                                    today         and warning, pedestrian and cyclist warning, intelligent
                                                technologies.                           installation
Mobileye (2017a)            System                                                                                      high beam control, turn signal reminder, and low visibility
                                                                                                                        The collision mitigation system also includes adaptive
                                                Radar-based sensor system
                                                                                                                        cruise control and active braking applications. More than
Meritor Wabco               Meritor Wabco       identifies potential collisions and         Not          Available
                                                                                                                        120,000 OnGuard collision mitigation systems have been
(2017, n.d.)                OnGuardActive       sends warning notifications to           disclosed        today
                                                                                                                        sold in North America and are being used by more than
                                                                                                                        200 fleets.
                                                Vehicle technology to dynamically         $3,000       Around 2006      Cost estimates not explicit to heavy-duty vehicles.
                            Adaptive cruise     control longitudinal movement
DOT (2014)                                                                                                              Assumed to include sensing technologies (cameras,
                            control             and maintain consistent following
                                                                                          $2,000       Around 2014      radar) and processing software.
                                                A technology that alters vehicle
International Council on
                            Predictive cruise   speed to optimize performance                                           The study reports the estimated 2030 vehicle technology
Clean Transportation                                                                       $760            2030
                            control             over various types of terrain based                                     costs and reports the values in 2015 dollars.
(ICCT, 2017)
                                                on GPS and topographical data.

                                                A technology that alters vehicle           $953            2018         EPA and NHTSA estimate the cost of predictive cruise
                            Predictive cruise   speed to optimize performance
EPA and NHTSA (2016)                                                                                                    control for heavy-duty tractors and reports the values in
                            control             over various types of terrain based
                                                                                                                        2013 dollars.
                                                on GPS and topographical data.
                                                                                           $766            2027

                                                                                                                        Cost estimate indicates the advertised cost (excluding
                                                A technology that alters vehicle
                                                                                        $1,300 with                     VAT) in Germany to purchase and install the retrofit
                            Predictive cruise   speed to optimize performance
Daimler AG (2015)                                                                       installation       2015         technology. Based on typical mileage of 81,000 miles/
                            control             over various types of terrain based
                                                                                         (€1,500)                       year, the technology payback period from fuel savings
                                                on GPS and topographical data.
                                                                                                                        (up to 5%) is advertised as less than 1 year.
American Trucking
                                                                                                         Available      Study not specific to heavy-duty vehicles. Together,
Associations                Adaptive cruise
                                                Vehicle technologies for                                    today       adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist are
Technology and              control and lane                                              $3,000
                                                longitudinal and lateral controls.                     (in light-duty   considered Level 2 by enabling the system to control both
Maintenance Council         keeping assist
                                                                                                          vehicles)     longitudinally and laterally.
                                                                                          About                         Includes V2V communication technology and “necessary
                                                Technology that enables vehicles
Janssen, Zwijnenberg,                                                                     $11,900                       additional safety measures” which are unspecified but
                            Platooning          to travel close together to minimize                       2015
Blankes, & Kruijff (2015)                                                                per truck                      assumed to include sensor systems such as LiDAR, radar,
                                                aerodynamic drag.
                                                                                        (€10,000)                       and/or cameras.

                                                Technology that enables vehicles         $1,500 –                       Estimated cost of required technologies to enable two-
NACFE (2016)                Platooning          to travel close together to minimize    $2,000 per         2016         truck platooning, based on industry interviews from
                                                aerodynamic drag.                          truck                        unnamed fleet manager and technology developer.

                            Level 1                                                       $1,800
                                                                                                                        Study estimated the incremental costs of adding
                            Level 2                                                       $6,900                        technology to enable Level 1 through Level 5 automation.
                                                Incremental technology costs
                                                                                                                        Total incremental technology cost to reach Level 5 is
Roland Berger (2016)        Level 3             (above Level 0) for Level 1 to Level      $13,100      Unspecified
                                                                                                                        estimated at $23,000. Incremental technologies include
                                                5 truck automation.
                            Level 4                                                      $19,000                        hardware (sensors, communications) and additional
                                                                                                                        processing software.
                            Level 5                                                      $23,400

6   INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON CLEAN TRANSPORTATION                                                                                                 WORKING PAPER 2018-06

  • Level 3 automation capabilities         communications, and vehicle control          from trial to trial, although the general
    are most likely to come within a        technologies are enabling much shorter       magnitude of team savings—average
    decade for heavy trucks (American       following distances due to electronic        savings of both the lead and platooned
    Trucking Associations Technology        systems that read and react to the           vehicle—is approximately 4% to 15%.
    and Maintenance Council, 2015).         driving conditions several times faster      Because platooning requires at least
  • The International Transport Forum       than a human driver. Reliability of these    two vehicles and relatively fast speeds,
    (ITF, 2015) predicts that Level 4       technologies is becoming increasingly        there is some limitation to the percent-
    trucking on highways could be           important as the required reaction           age of fleet-miles that can occur in
    available before 2030.                  times for safe operation reach levels        a platoon and thus the realized fuel
                                            beyond human capabilities (NACFE,            benefits. Furthermore, the literature
  • A study requested by the European       2016). Relatively advanced platooning        reveals that several variables have an
    Parliament finds that platooning        systems that control both following
    technology will allow truck drivers                                                  impact on fuel savings, including fol-
                                            distance and steering are likely needed
    to legally disengage from the                                                        lowing distance, travel speeds, and
                                            to minimize driver error and maximize
    driving task within 10 to 20 years.                                                  vehicle weight. There does not appear
                                            the fuel savings benefits that platoon-
    Fully driverless trucking (Level 5)                                                  to be a consensus in the literature
                                            ing promises.
    could emerge after 2035 (Frisoni                                                     about how to ideally optimize fuel
    et al., 2016).                          Suppliers, truck manufacturers, and          savings from truck platooning when
                                            freight operators have interest in pla-      including each of the factors above.
  • Early adoption of highly auto-          tooning technology because of the            Here are several research findings on
    mated trucks (Levels 4+) may            attractive fuel cost savings and return      the relationships between fuel savings
    occur in the form of a trailing truck   on investment that the technology            and the various factors:
    in a platoon, following closely         promises. However, freight operators
    behind a driver-assisted (Level 1)      are likely to chart their own unique           • A review of several platoon-
    truck (NACFE, 2016).                    paths to technology adoption. For                ing tests found fuel savings
                                            example, Auburn University (2017)                generally increase as the gap
Heavy-duty truck platooning dem-
                                            notes that perspectives on fuel savings          b e t we e n ve h i c l e s d e c re a s e s
onstrations and implications for fuel
                                            might differ for large versus small              (National Academies of Sciences,
economy. A major focus of the research
                                            fleets. For large fleets with economies          Engineering, and Medicine, 2017).
literature and industry R&D efforts to
                                            of scale, fuel savings alone can be suf-       • Auburn University (2017) along
date has been on truck platooning,
                                            ficient motivation. However, for smaller         with industry partners including
driven partially by the potential fuel
                                            fleets, low upfront costs are crucial and
savings and attractive return on invest-                                                     Peloton, Peterbilt, Meritor Wabco,
                                            additional benefits may be needed for
ment that can result. Platooning tech-                                                       and the American Transportation
                                            small fleets to adopt the technology.
nology combines safety and collision                                                         Research Institute (ATRI) (Short &
                                            Key priorities for fleets to adopt driver
mitigation technologies with vehicle                                                         Murray, 2016) conclude that “trucks
                                            assistive truck platooning technology
communications and automated vehicle                                                         should be spaced as close as safely
                                            (Level 1) include affordability, ability
controls to tether trucks together in                                                        feasible” to optimize combined
                                            to coexist with collision mitigation
formation (NACFE, 2016). As noted in                                                         fuel economy.
                                            systems, and availability as a retrofit
Table 3, basic levels of platooning can
                                            device. In the near term, platooning           • Lammert et al. (2014) found 50 feet
be realized by adaptive cruise control
                                            technology is more likely to be adopted          to be the optimal distance for team
alone, while more advanced platooning
                                            within fleets, rather than across fleets,        savings, with savings decreasing
controls both longitudinal (ACC) and
                                            until trust, assurance, and interoperabil-       by about one-third with 20-foot
lateral (automated lane keeping) move-
                                            ity is established among fleet operators         following distances.
ments and is considered Level 2.
                                            (Auburn University, 2017).
In the most basic form, platooning                                                         • Simulations by Auburn University
                                            Numerous demonstrations and tests                (2017) suggest that 2-foot lateral
could be conducted manually, which is
                                            have occurred in recent years that               offsets can increase the coef-
to say without automation, simply by
driving with short following distances;     quantify the fuel savings from truck pla-        ficient of drag by up to 30%,
however, this method poses significant      tooning; many are outlined in Table 5.           thereby squandering the aerody-
crash risk and safety considerations.       As shown in the table, the realized fuel         namic gains and fuel savings of
Emerging sensor technologies, vehicle       savings from truck platooning varies             platooning.

WORKING PAPER 2018-06                                                       INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON CLEAN TRANSPORTATION             7

Table 5. Fuel savings demonstrated in example truck platooning projects

                   Lead      Platooned
     Source       vehicle    vehicle(s)     Team      Study method             Technologies used                            Description
                                                                                                           Testing of one platooned and one lead
                                                                                                           truck at following distances from 30 to
                                                                         Radar, DSRC-based V2V             150 feet at 65 mph. Tests were conducted
Auburn                                                                   communications, satellite         at the Auburn test track using Peterbilt
                  0.4% to     8.6% to      4.5% to    using “SAE
University                                                               positioning, actuation for        579 tractors with 53-foot trailers using
                   5.3%        10.2%         7%       Type II FE test”
(2017)                                                                   vehicle controls, and human-      Peloton’s truck platooning system. Because
                                                      at TRC Ohio
                                                                         machine interfaces                longitudinal movement is automated, and
                                                                                                           drivers were responsible for steering, the
                                                                                                           technology is considered Level 1.
                                                                         DSRC V2V communications,
                                                      Real-world         radar collision mitigation        Testing of one platooned and one lead
Technology         4.5%         10%          7%
                                                      testing            system, front facing camera,      truck at a following distance of 36 feet.
                                                                                                           Testing of one platooned and one lead
Lammert,                                                                 Radar, DSRC V2V
                                                                                                           Peterbilt Class 8 tractor-trailers vehicles at
Duran, Diez,                                                             communications, vehicle
                  2.7% to     2.8% to      3.7% to    Evaluated on                                         the Continental Tire Proving Ground test
Burton, &                                                                braking and torque control
                   5.3%        9.7%         6.4%      test track                                           track in Texas. Conducted with varying
Nicholson                                                                interface, cameras, driver
                                                                                                           speeds, following distances, and vehicle
(2014)                                                                   displays
Safe Road
                                                                                                           Testing of one platooned and one lead
Trains for the
                                                                         Camera, radar, and laser          Volvo FH12 rigid truck at the IDIADA test
Environment                                 Not       Evaluated on
                 2% to 8%    8% to 13%                                   to support adaptive cruise        track in Spain at following distances of 16
Project                                   reported    test track
                                                                         control, V2V communications       to 82 feet (5 to 25 meters) at 53 mph (85
                                                                                                           Testing of one platooned and one lead
                                                                                                           Peterbilt 386s model year 2011 tractor
                                            Not       Real-world                                           trailers in Salt Lake City, Utah. Conducted
NACFE (2013)       4.5%         10%                                      Radar
                                          reported    testing on I-80                                      at 64 mph with 36-foot following distance
                                                                                                           using Peloton platooning technology.
                                                                                                           Vehicles were fully loaded.
                                                                                                           Testing of two platooned trucks and one
                                                                         Radar, laser scanner,             lead truck at the AIST test track in Japan
Tsugawa                       12% to                  Evaluated on
                 0% to 9%                 9% to 15%                      adaptive cruise control, V2V      traveling 50 mph (80 km/h) at distances
(2013)                         22%                    test track
                                                                         communications                    from about 15 to 65 feet (4.7 to 20 meters).
                                                                                                           Vehicles were unloaded.
                                                                                                           Testing of one platooned and one lead
Browand,                                                                                                   Freightliner 2001 Century Class tractor-
McArthur,                     10% to                  Evaluated on       Electronic longitudinal control   trailers at the Crows Landing runway in
                 5% to 10%                8% to 11%
and Radovich                    12%                   test track         system                            California. Conducted with varying speeds
(2004)                                                                                                     and following distances, and the trucks
                                                                                                           were empty.
                                                                                                           Testing of one platooned and one lead
                                                                                                           Mercedes-Benz ACTROS semi-trailer
                                                                                                           trucks at the Papenburg test track in
                                            Not       Evaluated on                                         Germany. Conducted at 37 mph and
                 3% to 9%    9% to 21%                                   Electronic tow bar
                                          reported    test track                                           50 mph (60 km/h and 80 km/h) with
Bonnet and                                                                                                 following distances from about 15 to 53
Fritz (2000)                                                                                               feet (4.5 to 16 meters). Vehicles were
                                                                                                           partially loaded.
                                                                                                           Simulation to extrapolate potential fuel
                 2% to 6%    13% to 17%               Simulation         Simulation                        savings at 50 mph (80 km/h) when trucks
                                                                                                           are fully loaded and weigh up to 40 tons.
                                                                                                           Summary findings based on desk research,
                                                                                                           events, and industry interviews with fleets,
                                                      of literature
NACFE (2016)     3% to 5%    8% to 19%       4%                          Not applicable                    manufacturers, and platooning technology
                                                      review and
                                                                                                           developers in North America. Values based
                                                                                                           on following distance of 40 to 50 feet.

8   INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON CLEAN TRANSPORTATION                                                                            WORKING PAPER 2018-06

  • Ellis, Gargoloff, and Sengupta             speed, gap distance, weight, number       addition to platooning that can improve
    (2015) found that platooning dis-          of platooning vehicles, and the types     fuel performance of heavy-duty
    tances of 16 feet (5 meters) or less       of trucks and their aerodynamic           trucking, including predictive cruise
    can have significant costs by reduc-       profiles to optimize for fuel economy.    control, adaptive cruise control, auto-
    ing engine cooling air flow and            Beyond optimizing for fuel savings,       mated eco-driving, driver feedback
    therefore requiring a cooling fan          more research is needed to identify       systems to promote eco-driving, and
    and mitigating the potential fuel          the implications of each of the factors   automated manual transmissions.
    savings that platooning promised.          on safety, road infrastructure, public    Adaptive and predictive cruise control
                                               acceptance, and logistics.                are considered Level 1. Automated eco-
  • Lammert et al. (2014) found higher
                                                                                         driving was unspecified but assumed
    average fuel savings at lower              Testing of truck platooning typically
                                                                                         to be Level 1 by enhancing vehicle
    speeds (55 mph versus 65 mph or            has been conducted in relatively
                                                                                         acceleration and deceleration profiles.
    75 mph).                                   limited real-world on-road applica-
                                                                                         Automated manual transmissions and
                                               tions. An important industry con-
  • Lammert et al. (2014) found fuel                                                     driver eco-driving feedback systems
                                               sideration for technology adoption
    savings from platooning were                                                         do not automate either longitudinal
                                               is the number of freight miles that
    reduced with higher gross vehicle                                                    or lateral movement and therefore are
                                               are suitable for platooning. National
    weight. Similarly, Bonnet and                                                        considered Level 0. As shown in the
                                               Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
    Fritz (2000) found through pla-                                                      table, the fuel benefit of eco-driving
                                               researchers examined real-world truck
    tooning simulations that greater                                                     feedback systems can be significant,
                                               usage data in the United States to
    truck weight reduced fuel savings                                                    at approximately 10%. However, the
                                               statistically analyze the percentage of
    benefits.                                                                            materialization of this fuel consump-
                                               miles suitable for platooning (Muratori
                                                                                         tion benefit will depend on the extent
  • Increasing the number of trucks            et al., 2017). By using recent data on
                                                                                         to which drivers actually use feedback
    in a platoon could accrue                  highway vehicle usage and velocity,
                                                                                         and react appropriately, and therefore
    more benefits as more vehicles             they found that approximately 65%
                                                                                         may require monitoring verification and
    realize the slipstream benefits            of truck miles could be driven in a
                                                                                         incentives to maximize fuel benefits.
    (National Academies of Sciences,           platoon, at 50mph or greater, trans-
    Engineering, and Medicine, 2017).          lating to about 4% reduction in           Less information is available on the
                                               overall trucking fuel consumption in      fuel-savings potential for technology
  • For truck platooning systems
                                               the United States based on a team         applications such as blind spot detec-
    using trucks with different aero-
                                               fuel improvement of 6.4% as found in      tion, lane departure warning, forward
    dynamics, it is most favorable for
                                               Lammert et al. (2014). More research      collision warning, and other collision
    the least aerodynamic truck to be
                                               is needed to identify the percentage      mitigation systems. Furthermore,
    in a following position (Auburn
                                               of fleet platoonable miles that can tip   improving trucking fuel performance
    University, 2017).
                                               the fleet value proposition in favor of   is not the intent of these types of
                                               adopting platooning technology.           technology applications. The safety
In addition to these factors, atmospheric
                                                                                         benefit and potential payback period
conditions like temperature, wind, and         Fuel efficiency benefits of nonpla-
                                                                                         of collision mitigation systems are
humidity can have an impact on aero-           tooning technologies. Platooning has
                                                                                         discussed in Section 3. Nevertheless,
dynamics and therefore on the ability          received significant attention in the
                                                                                         collision avoidance systems may
of tractor-trailers to realize fuel benefits   research literature and industry R&D
                                                                                         have an indirect relationship with
from platooning. Similarly, traffic con-       efforts, but several other autonomous-
                                                                                         fuel economy. For example, Meritor
gestion, terrain, road construction, and       vehicle-related technology applications
                                                                                         Wabco’s OnGuardActive system, which
other real-world factors can reduce the        are poised to offer some fuel savings
                                                                                         includes collision mitigation as well as
feasibility and benefits of platooning.        benefits as well. In this section, we
                                                                                         adaptive cruise control functions, could
NACFE (2016), for example, recom-              highlight other autonomous trucking
                                                                                         help smooth acceleration and decelera-
mends fleet managers should expect             technology applications and discuss
                                                                                         tion profiles and therefore enable more
smaller fuel savings than reported in the      their implications on fuel performance.
                                                                                         efficient driving. The extent to which
demonstration projects, which are not          Table 6 summarizes several research
                                                                                         these types of technology applications
representative of road traffic congestion.     and demonstration projects.
                                                                                         result in real-world fuel economy gains,
More research is needed to identify            As shown, our research identifies         however, has yet to be quantified and is
the ideal combinations of travel               several of technology applications in     largely unknown.

WORKING PAPER 2018-06                                                        INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON CLEAN TRANSPORTATION    9

Table 6. Potential fuel savings of nonplatooning trucking applications

                         Technology         Fuel efficiency
       Source            application         improvement                                          Notes
                                                               The real-world CO2 emissions and fuel consumption reduction benefit from
EPA & NHTSA          Predictive cruise
                                                  2%           predictive cruise control as estimated by the U.S. federal agencies in the
(2016a)              control
                                                               Phase 2 medium- and heavy-duty vehicle regulatory impact assessment.
                                                               Investigated the fuel economy improvement realized through predictive
                                                               cruise control technology compared to conventional cruise control. Unlike
Lattemann, Neiss,                           2.5% to 5.2%
                     Predictive cruise                         conventional cruise control, predictive cruise control takes road elevation
Terwen, and                               over conventional
                     control                                   information into account using GPS and 3-D mapping information.
Connolly (2004)                             cruise control
                                                               Predictive cruise control was found to be more effective with greater
                                                               vehicle weights and on roads with more rolling hills.
                                                               Enabled by GPS and mapping technology, predictive cruise control saves
                     Predictive cruise
DAF (2017)                                    1.5% to 4%       fuel by anticipating the road ahead and adjusting vehicle speeds to
                                                               optimize fuel consumption.
Lutsey, Langer,      Predictive cruise
                                               0% to 5%        Estimates based on industry communication and stakeholder workshop.
and Khan (2014)      control
                                                               The press release indicates that 5% fuel savings is the high end of what
Daimler AG           Predictive cruise
                                                  5%           the predictive cruise control technology can offer. Estimates are based on
(2015)               control
                                                               typical annual mileage of 81,000 miles (130,000 kilometers).
                     Adaptive cruise
Faber et al.                                                   Estimates from the euroFOT project. ACC offers fuel consumption benefits
                     control, forward            1.9%
(2012)                                                         from smoother truck speed profiles.
                     collision warning
                                                               The authors report estimates of fuel savings for automated eco-driving
                                                               of 4% to 10%. Automated eco-driving elements are assumed to include
ITF (2017)           eco-driving              4% to 10%
                                                               smoother acceleration and deceleration profiles which could stem from
                                                               technologies like adaptive cruise control.
National Center
                                                               Results of a truck driving simulator. Eco-driving feedback technology
for Sustainable      Eco-driving
                                                  11%          provides driver feedback in real time, recommending optimal speed and
Transportation       feedback system
                                                               alerting drivers in instances of aggressive acceleration and speed.
                                               1% to 3%        Automated manual transmissions offer fuel savings from more efficient
                     Automated manual
NACFE (2014)                               reduction in fuel   shifting. Estimates based on compilation of existing sources on the
                                             consumption       technology performance and data as well as input from industry.
Lutsey, Langer, &    Automated manual                          Estimates based on review of literature, industry communication, and
                                               2% to 3%
Khan (2014)          transmissions                             stakeholder workshop.

3. Societal acceptance and                    2016; National Academies of Sciences,            considerations related to automated
                                              Engineering, and Medicine, 2017; ITF,            trucking. It is likely that nearly all of
the benefits and drawbacks
                                              2017). From the industry perspective,            these acceptance issues will need to
of autonomous trucking                        new technologies and the potential               be resolved or minimized before wide-
This section introduces several societal      for reduced costs from fuel savings              spread adoption of the technology.
acceptance considerations related to          and collision avoidance can be appeal-           A recurring theme among industry,
autonomous trucking and discusses             ing. For drivers, platooning and higher          drivers, and the public is the concern
the potential benefits and drawbacks of       levels of automation could ease the              over safety and system reliability.
technology adoption.                          tediousness of long shifts and allow             Heavy-duty trucks by their very nature
                                              drivers to engage in other tasks. Yet            could cause significantly more harm
SOCIETAL ACCEPTANCE                           the research indicates that there are            and damage compared to a passenger
                                              several major challenges and barriers            car. Research investigating the poten-
Several studies have outlined the
                                              to widespread acceptance. Table 7                tial adoption of platooning technology
societal acceptance considerations
                                              captures many industry, driver, and              found that fleets want proof that the
of automated trucking, identify-
                                              public acceptance concerns related to            technology works and the ability to
ing both positive and negative per-
                                              autonomous trucking.                             pilot and test the technology before
ceptions (Tsugawa, 2013; American
Trucking Associations Technology and          As shown in the table, there are several         investing (Auburn University, 2017).
Maintenance Council, 2015; NACFE,             negative perceptions and acceptance              There are also uncertainties related

10   INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON CLEAN TRANSPORTATION                                                                 WORKING PAPER 2018-06

to the impact of automation on the               driver comfort, stress, and vigilance            • g re a t e r f u e l e f f i c i e n c y a n d
operating conditions for drivers. For            (American Trucking Associations                    reduced emissions (i.e., more
example, as tasks are increasingly               Technology and Maintenance Council,                miles-per-gallon);
handled by the computer system, there            2015). Safety testing, reporting,                • ease of driving (e.g., technology
is the risk of drivers becoming compla-          and demonstrations of automated                    increasingly performs control of
cent, overly disengaged and unable to            heavy trucks are needed and should                 vehicle functions);
reengage in a timely and safe manner,            be available to the public (Short &
                                                                                                  • increased operational efficiency
and experiencing high stress from                Murray, 2016).
                                                                                                    (e.g., real-time planning, reduced
close following distances. There is also
                                                                                                    truck downtime);
the possibility of future job loss due to        BENEFITS AND DRAWBACKS OF
high levels of automation. From indus-                                                            • additional road capacity (i.e., less
                                                 AUTONOMOUS TRUCKING
try’s perspective, studies suggest that                                                             gap between vehicles, better
fleet managers are unlikely to make              Autonomous and connected trucking                  physical road usage);
major operational and logistical altera-         has the potential to offer several
                                                                                                  • reduced labor costs (i.e., tech-
tions to their freight schedules to take         benefits, yet the extent of these
                                                                                                    nology eliminates or reduces the
advantage of platooning.                         benefits is generally unknown to date.
                                                                                                    need for human drivers).
                                                 Furthermore, there are several risks
Many of the considerations in Table 7                                                           Some of the potential impacts of
                                                 and drawbacks to adoption of the
are somewhat uncertain and need to                                                              autonomous trucking are likely to be
                                                 technology. Multiple research studies
be investigated further. More research                                                          realized with no or low levels of auto-
                                                 (e.g., Short & Murray, 2016; NACFE,
is needed to more fully understand the                                                          mation (Levels 0–2), whereas others
                                                 2016; National Academies of Sciences,
impacts of automated trucks—from                                                                emerge with high or full automation.
                                                 Engineering, and Medicine, 2017; ITF,
lower levels of automation to highly                                                            For example, driver alert and collision
                                                 2017) outline the potential impacts of
automated trucking—on industry,                                                                 avoidance systems (Level 0) can offer
                                                 autonomous trucking from the fleet
drivers, and the general public. For                                                            significant safety benefits, and truck
                                                 perspective, which include
example, studies could inform how                                                               platooning (Levels 1 or 2+) can offer
obstructed views from platooning                   • improved on-road safety (i.e., fewer       considerable fuel savings. At higher
at close following distances affect                  collisions and fatalities);                levels of automation (Levels 3+), the

Table 7. Industry, driver, and public acceptance concerns about autonomous trucking

                    Industry                                         Driver                                    General public
 • Some fleet managers are unlikely to           • Potential boredom and complacency           • Safety, system security, and reliability.
   make operational and logistical changes         when the system is operating the vehicle.   • Risk of hacking and hijacking a long-haul
   or reroute trucks to take advantage of        • Monotonous yet high stress when               freight truck poses much greater danger
   platooning.                                     platooning at close following distances.      than a passenger car.
 • Privacy and access to key data                • Risk that drivers get pushed to operate     • Lack of awareness and familiarity.
   and tracking by competitors and                 longer hours if disengaging means that
   governments.                                                                                • Trust over system reliability when driving
                                                   drivers are considered off the clock.         next to a computer-controlled tractor-
 • One accident could eliminate the              • Risk of passenger cars breaking into the      trailer.
   monetary gain from platooning fuel              platoon unsafely.
   savings.                                                                                    • Ability to merge on and off highways
                                                 • Fuel savings could be outweighed by           between a series of trucks in platoon
 • May need to pay a premium for the driver        negative impacts on drivers and driver        formation.
   of the trailing truck in a platoon due to       health.
   high stress from close following distance.                                                  • Long-term employment security and
                                                 • Big Brother and constant monitoring.          potential job loss.
 • Costs of driver education, training, and
   technology maintenance.                       • Long-term employment security and
                                                   potential job loss.
 • Ability for drivers to safely operate
   with limited situational awareness and        • System security and reliability; drivers
   restricted views due to platooning at close     must believe the system is safe and
   distances.                                      appropriate.

 • System security and reliability.
 • Truck platooning with other companies
   could increase liability and insurance

WORKING PAPER 2018-06                                                                INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON CLEAN TRANSPORTATION             11

autonomous system handles multiple               their incident mitigation potential. The              levels of vehicle autonomy (Level
elements of driving execution and                agency found that no rear-end colli-                  4+), safety risks posed by hacking
monitors the driving environment. In             sions occurred in more than 3 million                 and remote hijacking could become
theory, this would enable drivers to             miles of data (NHTSA, 2016a, 2016b).                  a s i g n i f i c a n t i ss u e a n d d e s e r ve
disengage, opening up the possibility                                                                  f u r t h e r st u d y ( U. S . G ove r n m e n t
                                                 Slightly more advanced technolo-
of handling alternative tasks, resting,                                                                Accountability Office, 2016).
                                                 gies are expected to further improve
or not being present in the vehicle at
                                                 on-road safety by handling a greater                  Greater fuel efficiency and reduced
all. In the following subsections, we
                                                 number of driving tasks and miti-                     emissions. In North America and
describe and discuss each of the poten-
                                                 gating human error. For example,                      Europe, fuel consumption typically
tial benefits of autonomous trucking in
                                                 Peloton’s platooning system (Level 1)                 accounts for 25% to 40% of total costs
more detail while highlighting relevant
                                                 in theory is expected to prevent col-                 in long-haul trucking (Sharpe, 2017).
risks, limitations, and drawbacks.
                                                 lisions through more reliable, precise,               Freight trucks contribute a dispropor-
I m p r ove d o n - r o a d s a f e t y. T h e   and instantaneous braking (Peloton,                   tionately large share of overall fuel con-
potential for autonomous vehicles                2016). Yet experts express the need                   sumption and environmental pollution
to improve on-road safety is attrac-             for additional testing to validate the                from on-road vehicles. Improvements
tive to industry groups and govern-              safety potential both of the system                   in long-haul fuel economy directly lead
ment stakeholders and is one of the              itself and more holistically across all               to economic benefits and emission
most frequently cited benefits of the            highway transportation under all road                 reductions. In the autonomous trucking
technology. The elimination of driver            conditions and environments (National                 space, the most frequently discussed
error could save the trucking industry           Academies of Sciences, Engineering,                   fuel savings technology application is
billions of dollars each year from colli-        and Medicine, 2017).                                  platooning. According to Peloton, a
sion avoidance as the system increas-                                                                  technology company developing Level
                                                 No real-world data are available on
ingly handles driving tasks (Short &                                                                   1 platooning systems, the fuel savings
                                                 the safety impacts of vehicles with
Murray, 2016). Although there is some                                                                  from truck platooning is significant,
                                                 higher levels of automation (Levels
early evidence of safety improvements                                                                  estimated at $3,000 to $11,000 per
                                                 3+). Improved safety frequently is
from the technology, government reg-                                                                   truck annually, ranging from $0.02 to
                                                 cited as a key benefit to vehicle
ulators currently lack the data needed                                                                 $0.042 per mile per truck (Peloton,
                                                 automation, and more information is
to validate safety impacts (National                                                                   2016). A review of several truck pla-
                                                 needed to validate this claim. Sivak
Academies of Sciences, Engineering,                                                                    tooning demonstrations finds that
                                                 and Schoettle (2015) argue that the
and Medicine, 2017).                                                                                   platooning can improve average fuel
                                                 assumption that autonomous vehicle
Several collision mitigation systems             technologies will result in zero fatali-              savings by 4% to 15% (see Table 5).
are available today and are consid-              ties is unrealistic. Furthermore, some                A series of industry interviews con-
ered Level 0 or 1. These systems typi-           experts argue that Level 3, which                     ducted by Auburn University (2017)
cally alert drivers of potential safety          re q u i re s h u m a n i n te r ve n t i o n , i s   show that the benefits and drawbacks of
risks through blind spot detection and           unsafe and could even increase traffic                platooning are likely to differ based on
forward collision warnings, or actively          collisions (Naughton, 2017). Some                     company operations and fleet size. For
support drivers with automatic emer-             industry groups find that humans are                  example, although large fleets realize
gency braking systems. Forward col-              too quick to fully trust Level 3 tech-                substantial savings from economies
lision warning systems are estimated             nology, and that they are less likely                 of scale, upfront costs are very impor-
to reduce rear-end collisions by 10%             to successfully reengage with the                     tant to smaller fleets, and they may
(National Academies of Sciences,                 vehicle. As a result, some compa-                     require benefits (e.g., safety) beyond
Engineering, and Medicine, 2017).                nies plan to skip Level 3 automation                  fuel savings to invest in the technol-
Meritor Wabco reports that its colli-            (Naughton, 2017; Volvo, 2017; Google,                 ogy. Freight logistics could be another
sion mitigation system has reduced               2015). This discussion has been con-                  factor, and some companies reported
accidents by 87% and accident costs              centrated mostly in the passenger                     that their trip distances are not long
by 89%, paying for itself in approxi-            vehicle sector, but the implications                  enough for platooning, and that their
mately 12 months (Meritor Wabco,                 extend to heavy trucks. Further study                 trucks travel alone. Inducing additional
2014, 2017). The National Highway                is needed to identify and assess the                  miles traveled by going out of the way
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)            safety potential of connected and                     to create a truck platoon could under-
conducted a field study of heavy-vehi-           autonomous vehicle technologies at                    mine the fuel savings and environmen-
cle crash avoidance systems to assess            all levels of automation. With higher                 tal benefits. Key considerations and

12   INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON CLEAN TRANSPORTATION                                                                           WORKING PAPER 2018-06
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