Meritor Wabco, Peloton, and Denso are collaborating on a "platooning" system that puts us one step closer to autonomous trucks. Using a radio-based system that can be installed on any big rig in about three hours, trucks can be "tethered" together so that one can effectively control a whole convoy rolling behind it.

Here's a slightly sappy dramatization of what it's all about:

Basically, the system is adaptive cruise control with remote transmitting abilities. Denso and Meritor Wabco already use Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) radios in their collision mitigation tech. Peloton's system just loops the systems on multiple trucks together, creating a miniature ad-hoc network. Drivers will be able to control when the system comes on and what distance trucks will run with between them.

But of course, they're still going to have to steer. And fin

The biggest plus here for truckers and operating companies is the ability to draft safely. Drafting cuts down on wind resistance, which cuts down on fuel cost, which makes transportation cheaper.

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Companies will be paying close attention to exactly how much cheaper because Peloton intends to charge "by the mile" for this tech on top of installation and hardware fees.

They claim they've got "strong interest" and plan to start selling late next year. There are already over 70,000 test miles on the books.

Hat tip to Commercial Carrier Journal!