Japan is already making headway with autonomous heavy duty trucks. In order to save fuel, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has programmed a convoy of four trucks to drive just four meters (about 13 feet) apart. That cuts down on air resistance, reducing drag (and thus improving fuel efficiency) similar to drafting with a race car.
NEDO's been working on the idea for a while, demonstrating a three-car convey with each car travelling about 15 meters apart (about 50 feet) in 2010. Three years later, the organization's four-car caravan is far more efficient. Japanese broadcaster NHK reports that the plan could reduce the vehicles' fuel consumption by up to 15 percent.
This is combining the road train technology that Europe has worked on in the SARTRE program.
SOURCES - NHK, The Verge, Youtube
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