This promotional video for a truck platooning system shows just what this kind of system can and cannot do. Studies have shown there is a 4.5 per cent fuel saving for the truck in front and a 10 per cent saving for the following truck.
This example, by a company called Peleton in the US, keeps the trucks ten metres apart and the driver of the second vehicle still steers the truck. The linking system just controls acceleration and braking of it’s followers to ensure a safe gap. The drivers of the following vehicle get a video feed from the front truck so they can see the road ahead. To break the link the following driver simply touches the brakes.
This European system, being tested in Spain, takes the whole concept a good deal further with control of steering also handed over to the driver of the front truck, they are in complete control.
This probably needs a much bigger psychological leap to use, as the driver hands over complete control. Currently, we are happy to hand over some control to the cruise and some will use the proximity control to keep a safe distance to the truck ahead. But giving it all up and reading a mag, is this a step too far?