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Fuel-efficient and safe heavy-duty vehicle platooning through look-ahead control
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Automatic Control.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7177-0702
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The operation of groups of heavy-duty vehicles at small inter-vehicular distances, known as platoons, lowers the overall aerodynamic drag and, therefore, reduces fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Experimental tests conducted on a flat road and without traffic have shown that platooning has the potential to reduce the fuel consumption up to 10%. However, platoons are expected to drive on public highways with varying topography and traffic. Due to the large mass and limited engine power of heavy-duty vehicles, road slopes can have a significant impact on feasible and optimal speed profiles. Therefore, maintaining a short inter-vehicular distance without coordination can result in inefficient or even infeasible speed trajectories. Furthermore, external traffic can interfere by affecting fuel-efficiency and threatening the safety of the platooning vehicles.

This thesis addresses the problem of safe and fuel-efficient control for heavy-duty vehicle platooning. We propose a hierarchical control architecture that splits this complex control problem into two layers. The layers are responsible for the fuel-optimal control based on look-ahead information on road topography and the real-time vehicle control, respectively. The top layer, denoted the platoon coordinator, relies on a dynamic programming framework that computes the fuel-optimal speed profile for the entire platoon. The bottom layer, denoted the vehicle control layer, uses a distributed model predictive controller to track the optimal speed profile and the desired inter-vehicular spacing policy. Within this layer, constraints on the vehicles' states guarantee the safety of the platoon. The effectiveness of the proposed controller is analyzed by means of simulations of several realistic scenarios. They suggest a possible fuel saving of up to 12% for the follower vehicles compared to the use of existing platoon controllers. Analysis of the simulation results shows how the majority of the fuel saving comes from a reduced usage of vehicles brakes.

A second problem addressed in the thesis is model predictive control for obstacle avoidance and lane keeping for a passenger car. We propose a control framework that allows to control the nonlinear vehicle dynamics with linear model predictive control. The controller decouples the longitudinal and lateral vehicle dynamics into two successive stages. First, plausible braking and throttle profiles are generated. Second, for each profile, linear time-varying models of the lateral dynamics are derived and used to formulate a collection of linear model predictive control problems. Their solution provides the optimal control input for the steering and braking actuators. The performance of the proposed controller has been evaluated by means of simulations and real experiments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. , viii, 102 p.
TRITA-EE, ISSN 1653-5146 ; 2015:54
Keyword [en]
platooning, eco-driving, look-ahead control, dynamic programming, distributed model predictive control, optimal control, autonomous vehicles
National Category
Control Engineering
Research subject
Electrical Engineering; Vehicle and Maritime Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-173380ISBN: 978-91-7595-682-4OAI: diva2:852885
2015-10-01, Q2, Osquldas väg 10, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework ProgrammeSwedish Research Council

QC 20150911

Available from: 2015-09-11 Created: 2015-09-10 Last updated: 2015-09-11Bibliographically approved

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