Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) is a new, promising scenario in the Networked Society. Will LTE evolution and 5G be able to tackle the technical cha…
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I’ve been having discussions with people lately about what visionary company Ericsson will do given they are no longer a global leader in mobile phone devices. I still have a videotape of some of their predictions about 20 years ago, which are only now starting to become possible, which is an interesting coincidence having just commented on one of David Brin’s blogs about how 20 years is not atypical from the time great concepts are thought of to the time some technologies start climbing out of Gartner’s trough of disillusionment.
The idea of trucks slip-streaming and thereby reducing fuel consumption enabled by ITS is great, as long as they can also all stop in time if the lead vehicle, which is hogging the visibility of what is in front of them doesn’t have to break suddenly. Of course the vehicles are not only relying on many computers working perfectly, as well as normal components such as brakes, tyres, and running gear, but also the state of the lead truck driver’s wetware (brain alertness etc).
There are standards being discussed, but until that happens, we have examples like Scania’s and Volvo’s that talk to each other, but are not compatible with other truck ITS systems.
This always happens with new technology as one company wants to own patents, all want a sustainable point of difference to gain or keep market share. Standards will develop and be mandated, but in the meantime, this nirvana of fuel efficiency and safety will be a way off.
Having just driven through several countries where trucks stay in the slower lanes on freeways except when they overtake, this concept can be great, however, in New Zealand there are no official passing lanes on motorways. This means that rows of trucks slip-streaming each other could legally be in any or all lanes and other motorists could suffer due to lack of visibility and the inability to over or undertake because of the closer following distances of trucks.