Fleet owners and truck drivers alike have a strong interest in boosting fuel savings. While this is easier said than done, there are some proven methods for saving in this area, such as using technology to help map the shortest route between destinations.
Thanks to students and professors at Purdue University, fuel efficiency in heavy-duty trucks may increase in the future.
According to a recently published Trucks.com article, students and professors are collaborating with industry professionals from Cummins Inc., Peloton Technology, Peterbilt Motors Co., and ZF TRW to develop algorithms to help improve fuel economy through connectivity.
What’s the Problem?
Fuel costs are a major problem within the trucking industry. You should consider the following:
- Professional truckers drive approximately 279 billion miles every year.
- As a result of these miles, more than 54 billion gallons of fuel is used.
This has led to a major problem for carriers, as it can be a challenge to keep up with the high cost of fuel. They face no alternative than to pass this cost onto their shippers. As a result, the entire freight market is impacted.
While people have been searching for answers to this problem for quite some time, those at Purdue University believe they are onto something. They have high hopes that cloud-based communication, crowdsourcing, and technology can be the answer.
In the same Trucks.com article, Suresh Garimella, executive vice president for research and partnerships at Purdue, noted the following:
“This is the ideal marriage of the public and private sectors to the mutual benefit of both. We anticipate the result will be a commercial and environmental success.”
Moving forward, researchers at the school will be testing three strategies for increasing truck fuel savings:
- Investigate ways for engines and transmissions to recalibrate as a result of road conditions and traffic patterns.
- Link multiple trucks via cloud technology as a way of sharing data such as performance algorithms, weather services, and crowdsourced traffic.
- Improvements to platooning. In simple terms, this is the use of technology that allows multiple trucks to travel closely together as to reduce aerodynamic drag.
Researchers at Purdue University are well known for tackling a number of high level, highly complex problems.
While increasing truck fuel savings may not be as “interesting” as other projects, it’s a worthwhile endeavor that could alter the future of the trucking industry.