COLUMBUS, Ohio — As the chosen host fleet partner for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and DriveOhio’s Rural Automated Driving Systems (ADS) project, EASE Logistics will soon be the first in the U.S. to deploy connected and automated trucking technology on revenue-generating routes, a company statement announced.
“Partnering with innovative companies like EASE to conduct real-world testing is key to unlocking the full safety and efficiency benefits that truck platooning technology can provide,” said Preeti Choudhary, DriveOhio executive director.
The data generated by the Rural ADS project will be shared with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop national ADS policies, removing barriers to the safe integration of these technologies across the U.S., according to a news release.
EASE’s two semi-trucks equipped with artificial intelligence vehicle-to-vehicle communication are a leader and a follower truck nicknamed ‘Tom’ and ‘Jerry.’
The bright red cab of the follower semi (Tom) is emblazoned with the EASE, ODOT and DriveOhio logos.
When Tom and Jerry are in platooning mode, the lead driver controls speed, braking and acceleration, while the manned and connected following vehicle precisely matches the lead vehicle’s movement, the news release noted.
“We are excited to partner with DriveOhio, ODOT, the Transportation Research Center (TRC), and Bosch to bring innovation to our roads in Ohio,” said Peter Coratola Jr., EASE president and CEO. “Through our dedication to innovation, we seek to pioneer new ways of delivering excellence across the supply chain. This technology is a great stepping stone toward a safer, more efficient and effective supply chain – and safer rural roads.”
In preparation for the deployment, highly specialized and heavily vetted EASE drivers have undergone a combined 400 hours of training at the TRC. These drivers are now conducting preliminary solo runs to monitor data transmission to EASE and identify the best Ohio routes for platooning.
“This technology was thoroughly and comprehensively tested by Bosch and the TRC before being released to EASE for platooning and deployment on revenue-generating routes,” said Josh McMullen, EASE Corporate Development Manager.
Platooning mode requires that both trucks be manned with a highly trained EASE driver and will occur in very specific and ideal circumstances — weather, road conditions and traffic will all be taken into consideration when EASE drivers choose the perfect moment during a route to engage platooning mode.
Platooning mode disengages at the discretion of both trucks’ drivers, and the driver of the follower truck can override platooning mode to take manual control at any moment. Platooning mode also disengages automatically if any vehicle drives between the two semi-trucks.
“EASE is honored to be the first in the U.S. to deploy these vehicles on revenue-generating routes,” says Abbi Failla, EASE vice president of business operations. “Our goal is to develop, pilot, and deploy new smart technology initiatives to ensure that Ohio is the leading state in smart mobility innovation.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.