Empirical Equations of Changes in Aerodynamic Drag Based on Direct On-Track Road Load Measurements for Multi-Vehicle Platoons
Considerable effort is currently being focused on emerging vehicle automation technologies. Engineers are making great strides in improving safety and reliability, but they are also exploring how these new technologies can enhance energy efficiency. This study focuses on the changes in aerodynamic drag associated with coordinated driving scenarios, also known as “platooning.” To draw sound conclusions in simulation or experimental studies where vehicle speed and gaps are controlled and coordinated, it is necessary to have a robust quantitative understanding of the road load changes associated with each vehicle in the platoon. Many variables affect the drag of each vehicle, such as each gap length, vehicle type/size, vehicle order and number of vehicles in the platoon. The effect is generally understood, but there are limited supporting data in the literature from actual test vehicles driving in formation.