During one of the lectures of Open and User Innovation we had a guest lecturer. The guest lecturer was Thomas Tydal and he is a train driver and software developer. He developed the application Railit Tracker. This is an application for train drivers and other railway personnel. In this application the train drivers can see where they are, where other trains are, how fast they are going and if this is the right speed, and when they will arrive among other things. This application has solved the main problem of data being unavailable to the train drivers, and also it prevents drivers from going too fast and thus reduces the amount of energy used. Thomas’ presentation was very inspiring and I learned a lot from it about how the subjects we discuss during this course are applied in real life. It was a great addition to the course. The website for this application is railit.se.
After Thomas told his story, one of the students asked about the future of trains when it comes to automisation and if his business was threatened by possible automised trains. To this he said that trains are not the same as, for example, trucks. During a train ride often systems in the trains breakdown, but passengers do not notice all these failures because the train driver repairs these malfunctions. This comparison to trucks and the fact that his application saves energy made me think of a company I came across during one of my previous projects called Peloton.
Peloton is an automated vehicle technology company. They try to solve the two major problems in the trucking industry: crashes and fuel use. Peloton develops trucks that have advanced software and radars that allows them to keep track of each other and other traffic on the road. Each truck has multiple types of sensors that register data and they can share this information with other trucks on the road. Peloton software alerts the drivers if there are other drivers nearby and available for a “platoon”. When a platoon is formed two trucks are linked together when driving behind each other. With vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V), the acceleration and breaking systems of the two trucks are connected. This way, if the driver of the first truck breaks the second truck will automatically break too. Also, the drag between the two trucks is diminished so the first truck no longer suffers from this. By forming a platoon the fuel use of the first truck is reduced by 4.5% and the second truck by 10%, leaving an overall fuel saving of 7%. The platoons are only made when it is safe and every platoon has to be accepted by the Operations Center and they can change the platoon parameters to the situation of the trucks. Also, the drivers always have primary control over their truck, they can stop the platoon at anytime and can still use the brakes and acceleration themselves when necessary.
The V2V communication made me think of the subjects discussed during Open and User Innovation. The trucks all register data and share this openly to other trucks, creating a sort of open data community for trucks and their drivers. They help each other navigate and warn each other for upcoming traffic and dangerous situations. Also, by platooning they work together to reduce fuel use. I thought this was an interesting form of open data and communities.
I retrieved the information about Peloton from their website: https://peloton-tech.com/ , if you’re interested to get more information be sure to check out the website!