ELECTRA - Evaluation of different communication technologies for heavy duty vehicle platooning

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The latest advances in sensing, communication, and computation have considerably improved safety and comfort on our roads today. Introducing wireless communication between vehicles enables vehicles to share current status information (e.g. position, speed or other in car sensor data) with surrounding traffic participants. One application of such Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) that has received much attention from the research community, as well as by the vehicle manufacturing industry and governmental organizations is platooning of heavy-duty vehicles. Consider a platoon of tightly spaced vehicles driving on a busy highway. The leading vehicle is operated by a driver, while all following vehicles are operated autonomously once their drivers have joined the platoon and activated the platooning mode. Several studies have shown considerable reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by driving vehicles in close proximity in a single lane. Cooperative braking is a very important operation in vehicle platoon control for developing intelligent transportation systems, which increases safety with reducing safety hazards, and avoid serial rear-end collisions.

Several communication technologies can be exploited for this application, but there is not any comprehensive study to show which one (or combination) is the most suitable for a platooning application. Most of the research focusing on communication technologies and protocols assume that platoons are isolated entities; therefore the platoon’s interaction with surrounding traffic participants, including other platoons and, its effect on and integration into other types of C-ITS applications are not considered. Moreover, platoon members are assumed to belong to the same manufacturer and therefore different brands’ interaction within the platoon is not considered.

The aim of this project is to investigate the challenges and communication needs of a safe and efficient integration of the platoon into a broader C-ITS context. The first step is to study the application to get a set of requirements considering both safety and fuel efficiency. Then, different communication technologies, such as IEEE 802.11p, cellular networks (5G, LTE), visible light, and millimeter wave (mmWave) communications or their combinations, should be investigated to show how they are able to fulfill the requirements with special focus on selecting an appropriate communication technology/technologies for each situation. In addition, communication impacts on fuel efficiency must be considered as the most important point for platooning application without compromising safety. With an implementation of platooning on our highways just around the corner and other C-ITS safety applications to follow shortly, an investigation of these issues is of very high interest to vehicle manufacturers.

Alten Sverige AB Industrial
Scania Industrial
Volvo Group Trucks Technology Industrial