Truck Platoons Could Hit Iowa Highway This Year

Meritor Wabco

Drivers could begin seeing “connected platoons” of trucks operating on Highway 20 across Iowa as early as this year if legislation allowing the use of adaptive cruise control is approved by the Legislature.

Iowa Department of Transportation Interim Director Mark Lowe said trucking and technology companies are “chomping at the bit” to begin road-testing the cooperative cruise control that would allow up to three trucks to operate as a unit.

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The University of Iowa is receiving private financial support for the testing, university Director of State Relations Keith Saunders told a House Transportation subcommittee this morning.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest from companies that want to come,” he said about technology companies and trucking firms that want to test their technology. Trucking companies foresee fuel savings of 5% to 10% from platooning, Saunders said.

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Lowe said Highway 20 is being considered because of the low traffic density. Initially, he added, the truck platoons likely would be accompanied by escort vehicles.

The technology allows the second and third trucks in the platoon, which would follow the lead truck more closely than currently allowed by law, to receive information from the lead truck that allows them to react to traffic and other roadway conditions more quickly.

The subcommittee moved House Study Bill 111 to full committee for consideration.

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