Tackling Three Critical Issues of Transportation: Environment, Safety and Congestion Via Semi-autonomous Platooning 2014-01-2007
In recent years, platooning emerged as a realistic configuration for semi-autonomous driving. In the SARTRE project, simulation and physical tests were performed to validate the platooning system not only in testing facilities but also in conventional highways.
Five vehicles were adapted with autonomous driving systems to have platooning functionalities, enabling to perform platoon tests and assess the feasibility, safety and benefits. Although the tested system was in a prototype, it demonstrated sturdiness and good functionality, allowing performing conventional road tests.
First of all the fuel consumption decreased up to 16% in some configurations and different gaps between the vehicles were tested in order to establish the most suitable for platooning in terms of safety and economy. Additionally, the platooning technology enables a new level of safety in highways. Around 85% of the accident causation is the human factor. With platooning, the human factor is reduced almost entirely, making it a more efficient and safer system.
With platooning, the traffic flow is more homogeneous with several vehicles travelling at the same speed and therefore accident situations are less probable while helping to maintain a steady traffic flow with no stop and go situations. For the same reason, the traffic flow is more manageable enabling advanced traffic management. Thus, the traffic congestion can be reduced and, again, reducing another source of emissions.
All the potential advantages of a platooning technology which has been developed and tested are studied in this paper through test results and simulations.