[Dublin, OH, May 17] EASE Logistics of Columbus, Ohio has taken to the roads to deploy game-changing automation technology that will impact the future of transportation and create safer roadways for drivers, passengers, freight, and communities.
As the chosen host fleet partner for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and DriveOhio’s Rural Automated Driving Systems (ADS) project, EASE will soon be the first in the U.S. to deploy connected and automated trucking technology on revenue-generating routes. And there is no better partner in the nation when it comes to innovation; EASE was recently honored as #1 in transportation on Fortune’s list of America’s Most Innovative Companies – and #143 across all industries.
“Partnering with innovative companies like EASE to conduct real-world testing is key to unlocking the full safety and efficiency benefits that truck platooning technology can provide,” says Preeti Choudhary, DriveOhio Executive Director. The data generated by the Rural ADS project will be shared with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop national ADS policies, removing barriers to the safe integration of these technologies across the U.S.
Keep an eye on out Ohio roadways for EASE’s two semi-trucks equipped with A.I. vehicle-to-vehicle communication – a leader and a follower truck aptly nicknamed ‘Tom’ and ‘Jerry’. You won’t be able to miss the bright red cab of the follower semi (‘Tom’), emblazoned with the EASE, ODOT, and DriveOhio logos. When ‘Tom’ and ‘Jerry’ are in platooning mode, the lead driver controls speed, braking, and acceleration, while the manned and connected following vehicle precisely matches the lead vehicle’s movement.
“We are excited to partner with DriveOhio, ODOT, the Transportation Research Center (TRC), and Bosch to bring innovation to our roads in Ohio,” says Peter Coratola, Jr., EASE president and CEO. “Through our dedication to innovation, we seek to pioneer new ways of delivering excellence across the supply chain. This technology is a great stepping stone toward a safer, more efficient and effective supply chain – and safer rural roads.”
In preparation for the deployment, highly specialized and heavily vetted EASE drivers have undergone a combined 400 hours of training at the TRC. These drivers are now conducting preliminary solo runs to monitor data transmission to EASE and identify the best Ohio routes for platooning.
“This technology was thoroughly and comprehensively tested by Bosch and the TRC before being released to EASE for platooning and deployment on revenue-generating routes,” says Josh McMullen, EASE Corporate Development Manager.
Platooning mode requires that both trucks be manned with a highly trained EASE driver, and will occur in very specific and ideal circumstances – weather, road conditions, and traffic will all be taken into consideration when EASE drivers choose the perfect moment during a route to engage platooning mode.
Platooning mode disengages at the discretion of both trucks’ drivers, and the driver of the follower truck can override platooning mode to take manual control at any moment. Platooning mode also disengages automatically if any vehicle drives between the two semi-trucks.
“EASE is honored to be the first in the U.S. to deploy these vehicles on revenue-generating routes,” says Abbi Failla, EASE VP of Business Operations. “Our goal is to develop, pilot, and deploy new smart technology initiatives to ensure that Ohio is the leading state in smart mobility innovation.”
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