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.
SOURCES – NHK, The Verge, Youtube