Impact of Lateral Alignment on the Energy Savings of a Truck Platoon

Patrick Smith, Mark Hoffman, David Bevly, Michael Lammert, Brian McAuliffe, Arash Raeesi

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

16 Scopus Citations


A truck platooning system was tested using two heavy-duty tractor-trailer trucks on a closed test track to investigate the sensitivity of intentional lateral offsets over a range of intervehicle spacings. The fuel consumption for both trucks in the platoon was measured using the SAE J1321 gravimetric procedure while travelling at 65 mph and loaded to a gross weight of 65,000 lb. In addition, the SAE J1939 instantaneous fuel rate was calibrated against the gravimetric measurements and used as proxy for additional analyses. The testing campaign demonstrated the effects of intervehicle gaps, following-vehicle longitudinal control, and manual lateral control. The new results are compared to previous truck-platooning studies to reinforce the value of the new information and demonstrate similarity to past trends. Fuel savings for the following vehicle was observed to exceed 10% at closer following distances. The results showed that energy savings generally increased in a non-linear fashion as the gap was reduced. The impact of different following-truck lateral offsets had a measurable impact, with up to 4% reduction in total fuel-savings (relative to an isolated vehicle condition) observed for offsets up to 1.3 m. The fuel-consumption savings on the straight segments of the track exceeded those on the curved segments by upwards of 6% and highlight some potential differences expected between close-track testing and on-highway use.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 14 Apr 2020
EventSAE 2020 World Congress Experience, WCX 2020 - Detroit, United States
Duration: 21 Apr 202023 Apr 2020


ConferenceSAE 2020 World Congress Experience, WCX 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5400-78216 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5400-75471

Other Report Number

  • SAE Technical Paper No. 2020-01-0594


  • adaptive cruise control (ACC)
  • connected and automated vehicle
  • cooperative ACC (CACC)
  • heavy-duty truck fuel economy
  • heavy-duty truck partial automation
  • heavy-duty truck platooning
  • vehicle alignment
  • vehicle control performance


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