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Ahead of the Curve Auto Supplier Blog

September 09, 2015

Autoline TV: The Changing Face of Commercial Vehicles

Tom Manganello, co-chair of Warner’s Automotive Industry Group, appeared on Autoline TV with host John McElroy and fellow panelists Mihai Dorobantu, director of technology, planning and government affairs at Eaton and Brian Pohl, president of Pohl Transportation, to discuss legislative and technological changes shaping the commercial trucking industry.

At issue is how commercial fleet operators may respond to the Obama administration’s proposed Phase II regulations that would mandate heavy trucks to further reduce emissions by 36% by 2027. Manganello stressed that autonomous technologies may be able to help deliver significant fuel savings. 

“Consider commercial truck ‘platooning’ where Bluetooth technology from the lead truck is sent to every truck in the platoon… everybody brakes at the same time and keeps the same speed… these trucks can travel at 75 mph with just three feet between them.”  Manganello suggested that recent studies have shown that platooning results in 10% fuel savings for the truck in the middle of the platoon and 5% for the lead and trailing vehicles, a substantial reduction over a 2,000 mile route.  “This technology,” said Manganello, “is right here.  It’s right now.”

However, for platooning to be successful, Manganello cited the need for “commonization of state legislation because right now if you’re running a truck from Michigan to Florida, just on I-75, you’ll encounter six different laws regarding the distance between trucks.” 

“Commercial truck autonomy will probably become more readily acceptable and will lead the industry… as opposed to passenger cars,” said Manganello. “However, any program will require a significant educational component, both for the drivers and for the public at large.”
 

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