Resolute is helping advance an exciting off-highway automated vehicle (AV) technology known as truck platooning. Truck platooning involves a convoy of trucks that are linked together electronically, all operated by an experienced driver in the lead truck. The rest of the trucks in the convoy respond to the lead driver’s movements through a drive-by-wire and autonomy system.
The project is spearheaded by FPInnovations, a private not-for-profit R&D organization that specializes in developing solutions to make the Canadian forest products sector more competitive. The project has received funding from Quebec’s Société du Plan Nord as well as from Natural Resources Canada’s Forest Innovation Program. The project can count on the vast expertise of the technological partner, Robotic Research Autonomous Industries (RRAI). In addition to funding, Resolute is providing testing terrain and logistical support. Baseline testing for the technology was completed last month on Resolute land in Quebec’s Matagami region. The test utilized a pickup truck prototype in summer and winter conditions. Upcoming phases will examine performance in more challenging scenarios using loaded freight in cold, icy and low-light conditions with full scale Class 8 Trucks, equipped with RRAI’s “AutoDrive® autonomous platform”. Testing is set to continue until 2026.
Truck platooning offers many advantages for our industry and beyond. In addition to helping address the ongoing shortage of truck drivers and operators, the technology makes trucking more efficient, reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fuel costs, improves safety for all road users on remote roads and highways, and generates positive socio-economic impacts for northern communities. These benefits apply to all resource roads and are likely to extend to other sectors, including mining and transportation in remote areas. The technology’s potential for reducing GHG emissions through better driving efficiency supports the global transition to a net-zero economy. Resolute is proud to be a key player in this important project.