Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-01-0755
2019-04-02

On-Track Measurement of Road Load Changes in Two Close-Following Vehicles: Methods and Results 2019-01-0755

As emerging automated vehicle technology is making advances in safety and reliability, engineers are also exploring improvements in energy efficiency with this new paradigm. Powertrain efficiency receives due attention, but also impactful is finding ways to reduce driving losses in coordinated-driving scenarios. Efforts focused on simulation to quantify road load improvements require a sufficient amount of background validation work to support them. This study uses a practical approach to directly quantify road load changes by testing the coordinated driving of two vehicles on a test track at various speeds (64, 88, 113 km/h) and vehicle time gaps (0.3 to 1.3 s). Axle torque sensors were used to directly measure the load required to maintain steady-state speeds while following a lead vehicle at various gap distances. Through trial and error, test methods were developed that appear to provide satisfactory results, considering the challenges of track testing under real-world conditions (wind, weather, temperature changes, etc.). We found that total road load was reduced by about 10-12% at an optimum gap time of 0.25 to 0.4 s. Challenges that were encountered included less repeatability of load measurements at short gap distances and powertrain mode switching (from a hybrid vehicle) that rendered the 88-km/h results less useful. This study will provide the framework for further investigations on coordinated-driving road load using track testing methods.

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