Vehicle platooning is a concept for vehicle operations in which vehicles travel in 'packs,' in order to reduce aerodynamic resistance and thus improve fuel efficiency. However, the tight following distances required for true vehicle platooning are difficult and unsafe to implement with human drivers. However, connected vehicle and/or driver assistive technologies, like automated braking, may make platooning more viable and have led to increased interest in implementing vehicle platooning at scale.
To quantify fuel efficiency gains from vehicle platooning, a research team from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute first gathered platooning drag coefficient measurements for buses, light duty vehicles, and trucks from existing studies. Then the research team used these values to calibrate models for drag coefficients and fuel efficiency gains for each vehicle type.
- Platooning of light duty vehicles can achieve an optimal fuel savings of 4.5 percent over baseline.
- Platooning of buses can achieve an optimal savings of 15.5 percent and platooning of trucks can achieve an optimal savings of 7.0 percent over baseline.
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