Platooning strategies for cooperative automated vehicles

The beginning of automated driving is upon us. We are slowly implementing adaptive cruise control (ACC) vehicles, however cooperative automated vehicles (CAVs) are not yet operating on the motorways. The communication between the CAVs should help to improve throughput on the motorways by creating platoons. These “platoons” are two or more vehicles driving with small inter-vehicle gaps, which is enabled by vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication between the CAVs.

The implementation of the CAVs on the motorways still awaits. Which is normal since it takes a while before the carpark of any given country is refreshed. However that does mean that high penetration levels of CAVs are not expected straight away. This low penetration level means that the (mixed) traffic predominantly exist of human driven vehicles (>94%).

Improving throughput using the method of platooning during the starting days of the CAVs is the challenging objective of this research. This goal is obtained by developing different platooning strategies for the CAVs in low penetration levels and testing these strategies in a model called MOTUS (microscopic open traffic simulation). The strategies will describe the formation and splitting of the platoons. These platooning strategies can be spontaneous or organized by design. Respectively this means that platoons can form more naturally (with a CAV attraction coefficient) or the platoon is systematically crafted (by a set predetermined rules per CAV in the system). How the platoons form and split and which strategy works best is the subject of this research.

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