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1. (WO2019067569) APPARATUS FOR REDUCING AERODYNAMIC DRAG ON TRACTOR-TRAILERS
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What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for reducing aerodynamic drag on a tractor-trailer comprising:

a panel including an inner portion and an outer portion coupled to each other along first and second seams to define a cavity and further including at least one air inlet proximate at least one of the first or second seams for allowing air influx into the cavity from free-stream air flow during transit of the tractor-trailer to transition the panel from a retracted state to a deployed state,

wherein, when in the deployed state, the panel is configured to alter an external topography of the tractor-trailer.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein, when in the deployed state, the outer portion of the panel is contoured along a lengthwise direction of the panel.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein, when in the deployed state, a profile of the outer portion is defined by a shape of partial circumference of a circle of constant radius of curvature.

4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the radius of curvature is between approximately 83 m and approximately 84 m.

5. The apparatus of any preceding claim, wherein the panel includes a top panel and first and second side panels, and wherein the top panel is coupled to each of the first and second side panels.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the top panel is coupled to each of the first and second side panels along respective seams.

7. The apparatus of any preceding claim, wherein the panel is constructed of a fabric-based material.

8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the fabric-based material includes at least one of a tarp, a canvas, or a nylon-based composite.

9. A trailer including the apparatus of any preceding claim.

10. The trailer of claim 9, wherein the inner portion of the panel is coupled to a sidewall of the trailer.

11. The trailer of claim 9, wherein the inner portion of the panel is coupled to a top wall of the trailer.

12. A trailer comprising:

a plurality of walls extending between respective front and rear ends and at least partially defining an interior cargo space;

at least one panel coupled to at least one of the walls and spaced apart therefrom to define at least one cavity and at least one air inlet proximate at least one of the respective front ends for allowing air influx into the at least one cavity from free- stream air flow during transit of the tractor-trailer to transition the respective at least one panel from a retracted state to a deployed state,

wherein, when in the deployed state, the at least one panel is configured to alter at least one external topography of the trailer without changing the interior cargo space.

13. The trailer of claim 12, wherein, when in the deployed state, the panel is contoured along a lengthwise direction of the panel.

14. The trailer of any of any of claims 12-13, wherein the at least one panel includes first and second side panels coupled to first and second sidewalls of the plurality of walls and spaced apart therefrom to define first and second side cavities, and wherein the at least one panel further includes a top panel coupled to a top wall of the plurality of walls and spaced apart therefrom to define a top cavity and the at least one air inlet proximate the front end of the top wall.

15. The trailer of claim 14 wherein the top panel is spaced apart from the top wall proximate the front end of the top wall by at least one standoff protruding outwardly from the top wall.

16. The trailer of claim 15, further comprising a front strap extending around the sidewalls and the at least one standoff proximate the respective front ends, wherein the side panels and the top panel are each coupled to the front strap.

17. The trailer of claim 16, further comprising a rear strap extending around the sidewalls and the top wall proximate the respective rear ends, wherein the side panels and the top panel are each coupled to the rear strap to inhibit air outflux from the respective cavities.

18. The trailer of any of claims 16-17, wherein the side panels and the top panel each coupled to the respective strap via a removable coupling.

19. The trailer of claim 18, wherein the removable coupling includes a magnetic coupling.

20. The trailer of claim 14, wherein the top panel is coupled to each of the first and second side panels.