Platooning: Driverless log truck trial

Wednesday 7 Nov 2018

Canada: FPInnovations and partners make history in log truck platooning - FPInnovations and its partners took truck platooning research a giant step further this week and earned a spot in history by successfully road testing the emerging technology in the deep forests of Quebec in the first trial of its kind in Canada.

The day-long trial took place in Rivière-aux-Rats, Quebec and signals the beginning of a transformation of the forest transportation industry on a scale not seen in decades. It could also solve the chronic issue of a skilled-driver shortage that’s plagued the industry for years and shows no signs of abating. The tests involved two platooned trucks hauling logging trailers on resource roads between a Resolute Forest Products saw mill and the company’s logging site 75 km away. Drivers were at the wheels of the trucks but in the future, only the lead truck will have a driver and the following trucks will be fully automated.

“These tests are a major accomplishment,” says FPInnovations lead scientist, Francis Charette. “To the best of our knowledge, no one has tested platooning in a forest environment before. As a respected forestry R&D organisation, FPInnovations is ideally positioned to bring together specialised research organisations and commercial industries to further our common goal of introducing platooning on forest roads.”

Truck platooning is an emerging vehicle technology in which trucks are linked by a computer system that maintains the desired distance between trucks, as well as controls acceleration and braking, reacting faster than a driver typically can. Platooning uses a dedicated short-range radio communications (DSRC) protocol approved for communications at high-speeds, as well as a GPS system, and radar technology. Highway platooning is already legal in several U.S. states, including Tennessee and Georgia. However, platooning is only in the testing phase in Canada.

FP Innovations research experts will be speaking at Innovatek's upcoming HarvestTECHX conference on 12-13 March in Vancouver. See to register.

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