Automated truck platoons to traverse Alberta highway

Semi-trucks fitted with artificial intelligence technology will soon roll on Alberta’s Queen Elizabeth Highway II, in a test project funded by the Government of Canada.

Driver-assist technology will allow close-proximity following in platoon formation, reducing drag and increasing fuel efficiency. Other sensors, radar and camera technology will send information between trucks to manage safety and active braking systems, responding to sudden deceleration by the lead vehicle without human error like driver distraction.

“Daisy”, above, and “Lily”, Peterbilt 579, Class 8 heavy duty trucks supplied by Pronto, feature Society of Automated Engineers Level 2 automation. Bison Transport drivers hauling trailers will operate the vehicles. (Photo: Pronto)

The project includes ensuring platooning technology is tested for the safety of vehicle operators as well as all road users. Platooning can be a safe, efficient way to get Albertans the necessities they need every day.

“Innovation in the commercial transportation industry is being driven by technology. This program is critical to economic growth and competitiveness and improves safety and efficiency across the supply chain,” says Chris Nash, president of the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA).

“Commercial trucking is essential to Alberta’s economy and we’re proud to trial new ways to get our goods to market. Supporting innovative projects like truck platooning will give us a better understanding of the safety and reliability of emerging technologies as well as their future potential on our highways,” says Ric McIver, Alberta’s minister of transportation.

Alberta Transportation has reviewed the proposed test project and supports its safe operation on the major transportation corridor between Edmonton and Calgary.

AMTA is leading the project which is formally called the Cooperative Truck Platooning System (CTPS). The project is funded by Transport Canada and involves industry and research partnerships with Bison Transport, Pronto, the University of Alberta, Solaris Fatigue Management, Tantus and support from Alberta. CTPS began on March 1 and will run until June 2022.

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