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Tech Takes the Wheel

Posted December 04, 2016 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Bosch's VisionX concept involves platoons of "super trucks" electronically linked to a lead vehicle. As they travel down the highway, trucks in the platoon steer, accelerate, and brake in sync. Drivers, however, would control the trucks before and after they join a platoon.


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Guru

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#1

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/04/2016 10:29 AM

"As they travel down the highway, trucks in the platoon steer, accelerate, and brake in sync."

They'd better "steer" sequentially and accelerate, and brake" so as to keep the vehicles spaced properly.

Traversing a curvy road with all trucks steering when the lead truck does will cause havoc.

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#2

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/04/2016 11:03 AM

The old tech term for this is called a railroad.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/04/2016 11:37 AM

I'm slowly coming to accept this technology, because unlike railroads where product is offloaded onto local trucks, trucks can be loaded to haul to specific locations (think lumber yards and big box stores).

Having a driver for every truck may cost a lot tho. I see a lounge/sleeper truck in the rear where drivers leave the lounge to take a truck to a specific location and more drivers are picked up along the way to replace the ones who have left.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/05/2016 7:59 AM

I don't have enough faith in software "engineers" to ever be capable of executing this to perfection.

There's always going to be some new patch being issued to cover up their most recent screw up and their latest patches will always be incurring new problems - just like the ongoing story we have with computers now.

It's way too complicated for Silicon Valley's little pea brains.

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#8
In reply to #2

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/05/2016 11:34 AM

I grew up with the term 'Convoy' and apparently 'the man' had a real problem with long lines of semi rigs lining up in a neat tight formation in order to streamline and thus travel faster and more efficiently with rigs that had rather limited engine power.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/05/2016 1:31 PM

That's workable enough to allow for incomings and outgoings from the convoy because the drivers are paying attention.

But lets say, using the system described in the article, that we have a 50 mile long convoy traveling in the slow lane of highway 1 and a new 20 mile long convoy on highway 2 that wants to join highway 1 from a junction where the 50 mile long convoy is approaching and the 20 mile convoy arrives at the junction just after the front of the 50 mile convoy passes the junction.

Does the 20 mile long convoy have to wait one hour for the 50 mile long convoy to pass, assuming a 50 mile an hour speed limit?

Does the 50 mile convoy get braked to a standstill on highway 1 slow lane for 20 minutes plus, while the 20 mile convoy joins on the front?

Or, does the 50 mile long convoy whose lead truck having already passed the junction have to work out how to integrate the 20 mile incoming convoy either by shifting the 50 mile convoy to the fast lane and blocking the entire highway for minimum 50 miles while the 20 mile convoy dawdles along in the slow lane so as to tag on the back of the 50 mile convoy, or does the 50 mile convoy stay in the slow lane and split truck by truck to integrate the 20 mile convoy one truck at a time, the front of the convoy accelerating while the back decelerates to let in just one truck at a time till the entire 20 mile convoy is able to join?

I haven't even mentioned the ensuing disruption and road rage being foisted on the rest of the road users coming across such a nightmare scenario.

Can you imagine the Silicone Valley tumbleweeds trying to deal with real world situations like that?

It's beyond their comprehension to even envisage a situation like that ever arising as we've seen from Tesla's failure to envisage even relatively simple real world situations.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/05/2016 9:10 PM

I called the CHP Banning / I-10 scale house.

I spoke with an officer, he quoted state statute 21704-A.

This statute requires that any 2 or more axle drive vehicle in combination with any 2 or more axle trailer to maintain a 300 ft. distance between vehicles.

This applies to all articulated and non articulated vehicles with not less than 18,000 GVWR.

2 axle passenger vehicles fall under a different statute, although the legal requirement is 100 ft between vehicles.

Due in part to " States Rights ", each state has a different statute to cover the same occurrence.

Reference: The Caterpillar Effect.

Based on the 300 foot rule, just how long will that 50 mile convoy be now (?)

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/06/2016 9:10 AM

That's a good point because a convoy of any length that has 300 feet between vehicles would actually make it easier to integrate a joining convoy than in a more tightly compressed convoy.

A lot of adjustments would be necessary to fully mesh two convoys on the move but that required spacing would make it easier.

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/06/2016 12:27 PM

I suspect they would use a 'zipper tooth' method of joining just as is commonly done with normal vehicles in heavy traffic being to meet the basic safety requirements to be able to deal with unforeseen events at any point I doubt that they would have the whole train of trucks traveling nose to tail only a few feet a part but more than likely at whatever common spacing is dictated for their operation.

As the the individual vehicles of convoy come up to the highway 2 junction point on ramp they slow down a bit ahead of time and open up spaces for the convoy 2 vehicles to fit into.

No vehicles have to stop and wait, just slow down to make the transition from being two convoys into one even longer convoy.

In realistic application I cant see them using anything less than a 2 - 3 rig unit length spacing between units. Even though the whole convoy fleet can communicate and react as a whole within fraction of second all units have to act as if any and all units ahead of themselves have suddenly hit a worst case stopping distance scenario or that they have and the unit in front of it has not.

Just guess.

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/07/2016 10:31 AM

I totally agree with your analysis.

My concern is that the people who will build the software to handle this don't appear to have any real life experience, as witnessed by Tesla admitting that their overhyped technology couldn't see the broad side of a trailer crossing the road in front of their car.

But there is hope, because the established auto makers are getting involved and they are very well aware of the dangers lurking on the public roads.

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/07/2016 10:48 AM

What amazes me is that Almighty Google can build driverless cars but, even after years of trying, still cannot seem to figure out how to write a simple working HTML editor for their G+ social media platform.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/07/2016 12:12 PM

That's Silicone Valley mentality.

It's always onto the next big thing and never mind about the lashups they left behind.

Joe public will just have to swallow that because, hey look at our share price, we must be doing something right.

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/07/2016 12:36 PM

Yep. They're like an ADHD kid running from room to room leaving messes behind for everyone to clean up. Vivek "Vic" Gundotra served as the Senior Vice President, Social for Google. On one G+ post he extolling all the new stuff Google was releasing that round and everybody was there snuggling up to him, oooh-ing and aww-ing at all this "wonderful" new crap they were coming out with. It was pathetic. I've never seen so much ass-snorkling in my life. I commented and told him, "I'm sorry but I do not share your excitement. Fix the endless problems with what you've already fielded first and yeah, I might get excited. As it is, this is just more stuff you're dumping on the public, stuff whose bugs you will not fix, just like you're not fixing the bugs in your current products. Rearranging them, yes, but not really fixing them, like a game of Whack-a-Mole; many of your products having glaring problems that have been there since Day One, still, so why should we expect that this new stuff will be any different?" I gave several examples.

"I'll see to it personally," was his reply and tagged several names in Google+ Development. This was in April 2014. Shortly after, he left or was removed from that position. Since then G+ seems to go through leads faster than Australia goes through PMs.

This week's bug: I can't read others' comments on posts with their G+ for Android app. Every week it seems they're breaking something. I wonder if they even test this sh*t before releasing it into the wild.

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#13
In reply to #2

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/07/2016 10:01 AM

Australian road trains also

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#5

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/05/2016 8:13 AM

This " idea " might work for one group, but may not work well for another.

Group A. Companies such as Fed Ex, UPS, Yellow, Old Dominion etc, that primarily move freight from point to point / terminal to terminal can adapt to this type of system.

Group B. Companies such as Swift, U S Express, C R England, CRST etc, that primarily move freight from individual warehouses or shippers/consignee's in outlying areas will have difficulties to adapt to this system, if they can adapt at all.

Most members of both groups have operational centers located adjacent to major highways, although only some of these members have a feeder system in place that supplies and dispatches from a " hub ".

Compounding this is that most manufacturers and DC'S are not located near a major thoroughfare.

I remember reading how this scheme was originally concocted in Germany, and there is a big difference between theirs and the U.S. Highway system.

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#6

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/05/2016 8:21 AM

Sounds like a high tech Convoy - what does C W McCall think of this?

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/05/2016 10:26 AM

With EZCash they don't have to crash the gate doin' 98 anymore.

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#18

Re: Tech Takes the Wheel

12/07/2016 12:45 PM

I think its a great idea....

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