Fuel-Efficient Heavy-Duty Vehicle Platooning

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: The freight transport industry faces big challenges as the demand for transport and fuel prices are steadily increasing, whereas the environmental impact needs to be significantly reduced. Heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) platooning is a promising technology for a sustainable transportation system. By semi-autonomously governing each platooning vehicle at small inter-vehicle spacing, we can effectively reduce fuel consumption, emissions, and congestion, and relieve driver tension. Yet, it is not evident how to synthesise such a platoon control system and how constraints imposed by the road topography affect the safety or fuel-saving potential in practice.This thesis presents contributions to a framework for the design, implementation, and evaluation of HDV platooning. The focus lies mainly on establishing fuel-efficient platooning control and evaluating the fuel-saving potential in practice. A vehicle platoon model is developed together with a system architecture that divides the control problem into manageable subsystems. Presented results show that a significant fuel reduction potential exists for HDV platooning and it is favorable to operate the vehicles at a small inter-vehicle spacing. We address the problem of finding the minimum distance between HDVs in a platoon without compromising safety, by setting up the problem in a game theoretical framework. Thereby, we determine criteria for which collisions can be avoided in a worst-case scenario and establish the minimum safe distance to a vehicle ahead. A systematic design methodology for decentralized inter-vehicle distance control based on linear quadratic regulators is presented. It takes dynamic coupling and engine response delays into consideration, and the structure of the controller feedback matrix can be tailored to the locally available state information. The results show that a decentralized controller gives good tracking performance and attenuates disturbances downstream in the platoon for dynamic scenarios that commonly occur on highways. We also consider the problem of finding a fuel-efficient controller for HDV platooning based on road grade preview information under road and vehicle parameter uncertainties. We present two model predictive control policies and derive their fuel-saving potential. The thesis finally evaluates the fuel savings in practice. Experimental results show that a fuel reduction of 3.9–6.5 % can be obtained on average for a heterogenous platoon of HDVs on a Swedish highway. It is demonstrated how the savings depend on the vehicle position in the platoon, the behavior of the preceding vehicles, and the road topography. With the results obtained in this thesis, it is argued that a significant fuel reduction potential exists for HDV platooning.