This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Utilization of Vehicle-Specific Power as a Powertrain Independent Platoon Controller Performance Metric




Snitzer, Richard Philip

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Mechanical Engineering


Heavy-Duty hauling faces challenges regarding the efficiency of transportation, which opens the door to new pathways to saving money while refueling via platooning. Platooning vehicles travel together intending to reduce aerodynamic resistance during operation. The increasing interest in autonomous solutions directs research toward applying these solutions to heavy-duty transportation. However, autonomous solutions are a relatively new concept and require significant research before implementation on public roads. This dilemma brings forth a new application of an emissions quantification metric called vehicle-specific power (VSP). VSP bridges the gap between passenger vehicle emissions rates and fuel consumption. VSP considers the total driving environment of a vehicle, which estimates powertrain effort to maintain current conditions. The present work utilizes the powertrain effort estimation aspect of VSP rather than its emissions investigative benefits to evaluate the efficacy of Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC). Different controller strategies and platoon configurations are examined to determine the applicability of VSP to controller evaluation. Experimentation was completed at the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) circuitous track, the American Center for Mobility’s (ACM) freeway loop, and a straightaway section of NCAT’s track dubbed “ideal” for platooning efficiency. The influence of convoy position, following distance, road grade, speed, and acceleration are investigated via VSP. VSP aims to create a more complete cost function for assessing a controller’s strategy while implementing a forward-looking evaluation technique to current controller strategies. This cost function provides incredible insight into increasing the efficiency of an autonomously driven platoon.