Browse Publications Technical Papers 2001-01-1268

Quantifying Platoon Fuel Savings: 1999 Field Experiments 2001-01-1268

The results reported are from tests on July 6-8, 1999, on a limited-access 12km section of I -15 in San Diego. The tests involved 2, 3 and 4-car platoons operated and maintained by PATH personnel under the auspices of CALTRANS and utilized Buick LeSabre sedans under fully automatic longitudinal and lateral control. Multiple sensor data was acquired, including the fuel injector pulse width.
We demonstrate that the fuel injector pulse width, in combination with engine RPM and forward speed, can be used to determine accurate estimates of instantaneous fuel consumption. The repeatability for total fuel consumed over a 2.4 km portion of the test path is ±1% based upon multiple single car runs over the three day period, with the major portion of the uncertainty arising from changing wind conditions.
Fuel savings for individual vehicles vary from 0-10% depending upon number of vehicles, vehicle spacing, and vehicle position within the platoon. Fuel savings increase with additional vehicles, and with shortened vehicle spacings. Interior vehicles gain the greatest benefits-consistent with the decreases in aerodynamic drag seen in previous wind tunnel tests (Zabat, et al., 1995a,b).


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