World's First*1 Test of Expressway Traveling of CACC*2 -mounted Trucks Platooning with Drivers in the Following Trucks Launched

Toyota Tsusho Corporation (hereafter, "Toyota Tsusho") announces that it has been contracted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (hereafter, "METI") to perform "Research and Development/Demonstration Project for Implementation of an Advanced Autonomous Driving System in Society: Demonstration for Social Implementation of Truck Platooning" and is moving ahead with research and development related to truck platooning.

METI and MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) decided to launch, from January 23-25, 2018, the world's first expressway demonstration test of truck platooning, developed by four domestic manufacturers, in a platoon with drivers in the following trucks, as part of the project above, on part of the Shin-Tomei Expressway between Hamamatsu Service Area (SA) and Enshu-Morimachi Parking Area (PA). This demonstration checked how the truck platoon was perceived by drivers in surrounding vehicles (visibility, impressions, etc.) and effects of the truck platooning on the behavior of surrounding vehicles (overtaking, etc.).

1. Purpose

There are a lot of expectations regarding truck platooning by truck logistics companies in Japan as a way to improve business efficiency, cope with the lack of drivers, and improve safety. In particular, the lack of drivers is a serious problem, and the average age of existing drivers is increasing. This is seen as an issue related to the very survival of the industry, and there is a strong need to be able to operate with reduced manpower through truck platooning, especially on long-distance overnight trunk routes like Tokyo-Osaka, which are the hardest to secure drivers for.

In addition, reducing the distance between vehicles reduces wind resistance and improves fuel economy, saving energy. As each truck can operate independently before and after it joins the platoon, so the effort of hooking up trailers is not required, so it should allow general-purpose operation.

Toyota Tsusho was contracted by METI and MLIT to carry out demonstration projects from 2016 to 2018 to achieve truck platooning on expressways, which is one of the main initiatives for achieving the transport revolution, based on the government’s “Investments for the Future Strategy 2017” (Cabinet Decision of June 9, 2017).

In 2016, Toyota Tsusho studied issues related to vehicle distance to ensure safety for the public roads demonstration and determined specific driving locations and methods to prepare a driving plan.

Toyota Tsusho plans to carry out technical demonstrations to confirm responses to level differences on the Kita-Kanto Expressway between January 30 and February 1, 2018.

*1 This refers to expressway travel of trucks platooning with drivers in the second and following trucks, the trucks of which use a CACC technology jointly developed by multiple truck manufacturers and have been developed by four different truck manufacturers, is the world’s first effort.

*2 The term “CACC” is an abbreviation of “Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control.” The CACC function receives control information from a leading vehicle through communication means, automatically controls speed, and keeps the predetermined inter-vehicle distance.

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