The college joined the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center in October to conduct a live demonstration of autonomous vehicle technology traveling across the border between the U.S. and Canada. The capabilities of truck platoons were showcased traveling down Interstate 69, going east across the Blue Water Bridge connecting Port Huron with Ontario before returning to the U.S. The demonstration was conducted in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Transportation. Auburn’s two Peterbilt 579 trucks led the mixed convoy of commercial and military trucks using autonomous platooning software developed by a research group led by David Bevly, director of Auburn University’s GPS and Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory and professor of mechanical engineering.
Truck platooning links two or more trucks using vehicle-to-vehicle wireless communications technology and sensors that allow them to maintain a set, close distance between each other automatically. Truck platooning generates tremendous returns in terms of increased fuel efficiencies, decreased traffic congestion and improved safety for both commercial and military applications.