Lockheed Martin, DENSO International America and Intel Capital have invested $17 million in Peloton Technology, which provides a vehicle automation platform for trucks.
Peloton's technology revolves around truck platooning, which allows tractor trailers to travel together at closer distances, improve aerodynamics and cut fuel use. Trucks are able to pair up through vehicle-to-vehicle communications, radar-based braking and control algorithms.
The platooning of trucks revolves around integrated sensors, controls and communications to synchronize the vehicles. Peloton has raised nearly $34 million and investors include UPS, Volvo and Magna International.
For Lockheed, the investment in Peloton fits in with a broader strategy of checking out autonomous vehicle systems. Lockheed Martin has worked on control and driver systems for the military.
Peloton's technology creates a direct communication link between two trucks and allows the one in the rear to react automatically to what the partner vehicle in the front does.
The company also has a cloud-based network operations center that monitors pairs of trucks as well as conditions. Drivers retain control of the vehicles so Peloton isn't directly an autonomous driving play.
Peloton's system has had more than 15,000 platooning miles and had tests and demonstrations for fleets in Nevada, Utah, Texas, Ohio and Michigan.