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Can Bridges Handle Weight of Platooning Trucks? Engineering Firm Wants to Know

Can Bridges Handle Weight of Platooning Trucks? Engineering Firm Wants to Know

Transport Topics
Lorrie Grant | Managing Editor
January 7, 2018 8:30 PM, EST

WASHINGTON — While truck-to-truck communication, driver training and safety have advanced the effort to hasten platooning to market, another critical aspect is looming and just may cause this momentum to slow: the impact on infrastructure.

The relatively close distance that must be maintained between the vehicles in a platoon — in which a lead vehicle is electronically tethered to a vehicle or vehicles closely trailing — means a greater amount of weight concentrated on smaller-than-usual portions of the road. The potential effects of this weight distribution on the nation’s roads must undergo intense study, researchers and engineers attending the National Academies of Sciences’ annual Transportation Research Board conference here said Jan. 7, especially as it relates to potential damage to bridges.

With platooning expected to be one of the first applications of autonomous vehicles to reach commercial use, these questions need answers soon, they said... FULL ARTICLE

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