Platoon (automobile)

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(Redirected from Automated Highway System)

In transportation, platooning or flocking is a method for driving a group of vehicles together. It is meant to increase the capacity of roads via an automated highway system.[1]

Platoons decrease the distances between cars or trucks using electronic, and possibly mechanical, coupling. This capability would allow many cars or trucks to accelerate or brake simultaneously. This system also allows for a closer headway between vehicles by eliminating reacting distance needed for human reaction.

Platoon capability might require buying new vehicles, or it may be something that can be retrofitted. Drivers would probably need a special license endorsement on account of the new skills required and the added responsibility when driving in the lead.

Smart cars with artificial intelligence could automatically join and leave platoons. The automated highway system is a proposal for one such system, where cars organise themselves into platoons of 8 to 25.

Potential benefits[edit]

  • Greater fuel economy due to reduced air resistance and by reducing the need for acceleration, deceleration, and stopping to maintain traffic flow.
  • Reduced congestion.
  • Substantially shorter commutes during peak periods.
  • On longer highway trips, vehicles could be mostly unattended whilst in following mode.
  • Fewer traffic collisions.
  • Vehicle to vehicle charging [2]

Potential disadvantages[edit]

  • Some systems have failed in traffic, as they have been hacked by remote computers, creating a hazardous situation.[3][4][5][6]
  • Drivers would feel less in control of their own driving, being at the hands of computer software or the lead driver.
  • Drivers may be less attentive than usual, and they may not be able to react as quickly to adverse situations if the software or hardware were to fail.
  • In the event of a traffic collision with the lead vehicle, the entire platoon may be caught in a multiple-vehicle collision due to the reduced vehicle spacing.

Automated highway system[edit]

An automated highway system (AHS), or smart road, is a proposed intelligent transportation system technology designed to provide for driverless cars on specific right-of ways. It is most often recommended as a means of traffic congestion relief, on the grounds that it would drastically reduce following distances and headway, thus allowing a given stretch of road to carry more cars.


In one scheme, the roadway has magnetized stainless-steel spikes driven one meter apart in its center.[citation needed] The car senses the spikes to measure its speed and locate the center of the lane. Furthermore, the spikes can have either magnetic north or magnetic south facing up. The roadway thus provides small amounts of digital data describing interchanges and recommended speeds.

The cars have power steering and automatic speed controls, which are controlled by a computer.

The cars organize themselves into platoons of 8 to 25 cars. The cars within a platoon drive themselves a meter apart, so that air resistance is minimized. The distance between platoons is the conventional braking distance. If anything goes wrong, the maximum number of harmed cars should be one platoon.

An overview of platooning systems is given in Bergenhem et al.[7]

Platooning of trucks has been proposed as a concept to reduce the energy consumption of semi-trucks and improve the feasibility of electric semi-trucks.[8]

Early development[edit]

The origin of research on AHS was done by a team from Ohio State University led by Dr. Robert E. Fenton, based on funding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration. Their first automated vehicle was built in 1962, and is believed to be the first land vehicle to contain a computer. Steering, braking and speed were controlled through the onboard electronics, which filled the trunk, back seat and most of the front of the passenger side of the car. Research continued at OSU until federal funding was cut in the early 1980s.


United States[edit]

The USDOT-sponsored National Automated Highway System Consortium (NAHSC) project, a prototype automated highway system, was tested in San Diego County, California in 1997 along Interstate 15. However, despite the technical success of the program, investment has moved more toward autonomous intelligent vehicles rather than building specialized infrastructure. The AHS system places sensory technology in cars that can read passive road markings, and use radar and inter-car communications to make the cars organize themselves without the intervention of drivers. Such an autonomous cruise control system is being developed by Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen and Toyota.[9]

The Federal Highway Administration in 2013 funded two research projects in heavy truck platooning (without steering automation). One is led by Auburn University[10] with Peterbilt, American Trucking Associations, Meritor Wabco, and Peloton Technology and the other is led by California Department of Transportation, with UC Berkeley and Volvo Trucks.


The SARTRE Project (Safe Road Trains for the Environment), is a European Commission funded project investigating implementation of platooning on unmodified European motorways.[11] The project begun in September 2009, and vehicle platooning, as envisaged by the SARTRE project, is a convoy of vehicles in which a professional driver in a lead vehicle heads a line of closely following vehicles. Each following vehicle autonomously measures the distance, speed and direction and adjusts to the vehicle in front. Once in the platoon, drivers can do other things while the platoon proceeds towards its long-haul destination. All vehicles are detached and can leave the procession at any time.[12][13]

In January 2011, SARTRE made the first successful demonstration of its platooning technology at the Volvo Proving Ground near Gothenburg, Sweden, in which a lead truck was followed by a car. In January 2012, SARTRE made a second demonstration in Barcelona, Spain, in which a lead truck was followed by three cars driven entirely autonomously at speeds of up to 90 km/h (56 mph) with a gap between of at most 6 m (20 ft). The companies that participated in SARTRE were Volvo Trucks and Volvo Car Corporation.[13]

EU Truck Platooning Challenge

During its Presidency of the European Union in 2016, the Netherlands organised a European Truck Platooning Challenge.[14] Six brands of automated trucks[15]DAF Trucks, Daimler Trucks, Iveco, MAN Truck & Bus , Scania AB and Volvo Trucks – ran on public roads from several European cities to the Netherlands.


In January 2018, trucks from different manufacturers were successfully driven by platooning for the first time on the Shin-Tomei Expressway in Japan.[16]

In February, 2021, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) successfully achieved traveling of trucks on part of the Shin-Tomei Expressway in a platoon in which no drivers were present in either the second or the following trucks, with staff in only the passenger seat for security purposes.[17]

South Korea[edit]

In November 2019, Hyundai Motor Group successfully conducted its first platooning of trucks on a highway for the first time in Korea. Demonstrations of platooning, cut-in/cut-out of other vehicles, simultaneous emergency braking, and V2V communication technology were conducted.[18][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zabat, Stabile, Frascaroll, Browand, "The Aerodynamic Performance of Platoons", Path Research Report, ISSN 1055-1425, archived from the original on 2011-07-19{{citation}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Rostami-shahrbabaki, Majid; Haghbayan, Seyed Arman; Akbarzadeh, Meisam; Bogenberger, Klaus (13 July 2022). On the Technical Feasibility of Vehicle to Vehicle Charging for Electric Vehicles via Platooning on Freeways. European control conference. London: IEEE. pp. 503–537.
  3. ^ Greenberg, Andy. "Hackers Hijack a Big Rig Truck's Accelerator and Brakes". Wired.
  4. ^ "Security experts hack into moving car and seize control". Reuters. 21 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Commercial Vehicle Hacking: The New Hacking Frontier? - Kodsi Forensic Engineering Inc". 4 November 2015.
  6. ^ Truck RPM Control on YouTube
  7. ^ Carl Bergenhem, Henrik Pettersson, Erik Coelingh, Cristofer Englund, Steven Shladover, Sadayuki Tsugawa, "Overview of Platooning Systems", ITS World Congress, Vienna, 22–26 October 2012,
  8. ^ Guttenberg, Matthew; Sripad, Shashank; Viswanathan, Venkatasubramanian (2017). "Evaluating the Potential of Platooning in Lowering the Required Performance Metrics of Li-Ion Batteries to Enable Practical Electric Semi-Trucks". ACS Energy Letters. 2 (11): 2642–2646. doi:10.1021/acsenergylett.7b01022.
  9. ^ Engineering Newsletters - ASME Archived 2010-07-05 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-09-04.
  10. ^ "Auburn engineers collaborate with industry partners on truck platooning project". 2013-12-12. Retrieved 2023-08-09.
  11. ^ "About the SARTRE project". The SARTRE Project. n.d. Archived from the original on 15 November 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  12. ^ GCC staff (2010-12-11). "EU SARTRE road platooning project moving to testing phase; firsts tests of two-vehicle train by end of year". Green Car Congress. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  13. ^ a b GCC staff (2012-01-24). "SARTRE project completes first successful on-road demo of multiple vehicle platooning". Green Car Congress. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2022-01-19. Retrieved 2017-01-15.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "What is the European Truck Platooning Challenge? – ACEA – European Automobile Manufacturers' Association". 10 March 2016.
  16. ^ "World's First Test of Expressway Traveling of CACC - mounted Trucks Platooning with Drivers in the Following Trucks Launched". Toyota Tsusho. 12 January 2018. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  17. ^ "Successful Autonomous Driving Technology Tests for Truck Platooning". Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). 5 March 2021. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  18. ^ "WHAT IS PLATOONING?". 《Stock Logistic》. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  19. ^ "S. Korea to demonstrate first truck platooning on public road". 《Pulse News》. Retrieved November 26, 2020.

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