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A Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis of a Driver-Assistive Truck Platooning System with Lateral Offset




Humphreys, Hugh

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Aerospace Engineering


This study utilizes Computational Fluid Dynamics to analyze the aerodynamic drag performance of a two-truck Driver-Assistive Truck Platooning system. Simulations were conducted to characterize the drag reduction versus separation distance trend for standard platooning from separation distances from 0-100 ft. From the CFD simulations, it was determined that the drag reduction monotonically increased as the separation distance diminished. Fuel economy tests were then conducted to compare the simulated results to practical experimental results. The follower truck’s fuel economy improvement differed from the CFD predictions, and thus a new series of simulations were conducted to determine the impact of external platooning effects such as lateral offset and crosswind. These results were then compared to both the original CFD simulations, as well as fuel economy results and select wind tunnel results from various other groups. The CFD simulations of lateral offset demonstrated a significant degradation in the follower truck’s savings, whilst the lead truck was mostly unaffected. CFD simulations also predict that crosswind also degrades the centered drag reduction trend for both vehicles, while also accentuating the degradation present in the lateral offset trends. This reduction in aerodynamic drag savings is also predicted to be directionally dependent for the lateral offset cases.