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All together now – Australian trucking tests on way

Silicon Valley’s Peloton Technology will test its “truck platooning” systems in Australia in the “near-term”, potentially revolutionising the road freight sector.

Platooning involves multiple trucks driving in convoy, using sensors to closely follow the lead vehicle.

Delegates at the second international Driverless Vehicle Summit in Adelaide last week were told Peloton’s technology links safety systems between pairs of trucks and connects them to a cloud-based operations centre that limits platooning to appropriate roads and conditions.

Peloton’s system also claims to improve safety by using forward collision-avoidance systems.

Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative Executive Director Rita Excell says the driving conditions and long-distance freight routes in Australia make automated trucks a “particularly promising technology”.

“This provides a realistic solution to the Australian transport industry in attracting and retaining skilled drivers for long-haul trips, by offering far more comfortable and safe working conditions.”

She says trials will begin in a closed road-testing environment, with her group in discussions with regulators and road authorities to determine the most appropriate location.

The summit also heard Australia will host manufacturing of several electric vehicles and their batteries, Ms Excell told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

Michael Molitor, Chairman of Uniti, says the Swedish-based tech company will bring manufacturing of three electric vehicles to Australia next year.

Ms Excell says insurers need to start thinking about new requirements during a “transformative time”.

“Compulsory third party is a key element that needs to be addressed quickly, and regulations that actually suit these vehicles, especially in the trial stages,” she said.

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