February 16, 2017 2:50 PM, EST

Omnitracs, Peloton Forge Platooning Alliance

Peloton Technology

Fleet telematics provider Omnitracs has forged a partnership with Peloton Technology to bring truck platooning capabilities to its customers, a development that could accelerate trucking’s adoption of the emerging technology.

Omnitracs and Peloton also will collaborate to introduce new product features, the companies said Feb. 16 in the joint announcement.

Peloton’s driver-assist platooning system synchronizes the braking and acceleration of a pair of Class 8 trucks, enabling them to travel safely at shorter, more aerodynamic following distances. The company said its technology can generate fuel savings of up to 10% for the following truck and 4.5% for the lead truck.

Peloton plans to begin filling pre-orders for its platooning system this year.

In the announcement, Omnitracs CEO John Graham said Peloton’s technology is “on the cutting edge of advanced driver assistance systems and the automated vehicle movement.”

Peloton founder and CEO Joshua Switkes described the alliance as the first partnership between a commercial platooning supplier and a fleet management technology provider.

“We will offer expanded opportunities for platooning across the broad customer base that Omnitracs has attracted by focusing on cost advantages for fleets,” Switkes said.

The partnership also could help enable opportunities for interfleet platooning. Omnitracs’ routing and dispatch applications could provide navigation assistance and fuel savings calculations for both scheduled and unscheduled platoons of trucks from different fleets, the companies said.

The companies said their joint development efforts may include integrated cloud-based fleet management services and hardware.

Peloton’s platooning system, which combines vehicle-to-vehicle communications with radar-based collision avoidance systems, automatically coordinates speed and the distance between the trucks, but driver of each truck continues to manually control steering.

Peloton plans to manage and monitor each platoon through a network operations center. That supervision will enable the company to limit the operation of platoons to specified roads when driving conditions are safe.

While Peloton’s system will begin with two-truck platooning, the company has expressed interest in expanding the convoys to three or more trucks in the future.