Impact of Mixed Traffic on the Energy Savings of a Truck Platoon: Preprint

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

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


A two-truck platoon based on a prototype cooperative adaptive cruise control (CACC) system was tested on a closed test track in a variety of realistic traffic and transient operating scenarios - conditions that truck platoons are likely to face on real highways. The fuel consumption for both trucks in the platoon was measured using the SAE J1321 gravimetric procedure as well as calibrated J1939 instantaneous fuel rate, serving as proxies to evaluate the impact of aerodynamic drag reduction under constant-speed conditions. These measurements demonstrate the effects of: the presence of a multiple-passenger-vehicle pattern ahead of and adjacent to the platoon, cut-in and cut-out manoeuvres by other vehicles, transient traffic, the use of mismatched platooned vehicles (van trailer mixed with flatbed trailer), and the platoon following another truck with adaptive cruise control (ACC). These scenarios are intended to address the possibility of “background aerodynamic platooning” impacting realized savings on public roads. Using calibrated J1939 fuel rate analysis, fuel savings for curved track sections versus straight track sections were also evaluated for these scenarios, highlighting differences in the implementation of the CACC control strategies compared to a stock ACC implementation. The use of different trailer types and the presence of passenger-vehicle traffic patterns showed a measurable impact on platoon performance in some conditions, but the basic fuel savings trends were retained.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages25
StatePublished - 2020
EventWCX 2020 World Congress Experience -
Duration: 21 Apr 202023 Apr 2020


ConferenceWCX 2020 World Congress Experience

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5400-75477 for paper as published by SAE

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5400-78218


  • adaptive cruise control
  • connected and automated vehicle
  • cooperative ACC
  • heavy-duty truck partial automation
  • heavy-duty truck platooning
  • traffic interaction
  • vehicle control performance


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