The operation of heavy-duty vehicles at small inter-vehicular distances, known as platoons, lowers the aerodynamic drag and, therefore, reduces fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Tests conducted on flat roads have shown the potential of platooning to reduce the fuel consumption of about 10%. However, platoons are expected to operate on public highways with varying topography alongside other vehicles. Due to the large mass and limited engine power of heavy-duty vehicles, road slopes have a significant impact on feasible and optimal speed profiles. For single vehicles, experiments have shown that optimizing the speed according to the road profile resulted in fuel saving of up to 3.5%. The use of such a look-ahead control framework is expected to lead to large benefits also for platooning. This thesis presents the design of safe and fuel-efficient control of heavy-duty vehicle platoons driving on realistic road profiles. The scenario where the platooning vehicles cooperate to optimize their overall fuel-efficiency is studied together with the scenario where the vehicles do not explicitly cooperate. First, we propose a control architecture that splits the cooperative platooning control problem into two layers. The top layer computes a reference speed profile that ensures fuel-efficient operation of the entire platoon based on dynamic programming. The bottom layer relies on model predictive control to safely track the reference speed. Simulations show the ability of the proposed controller to save up to 12% of fuel for following vehicles compared to existing platoon controllers and to safely react to emergency braking of the leading vehicle. Second, we propose a gear management layer that fits in the cooperative platooning control architecture and explicitly takes the gear selection into account. The underlying optimal control problem aims at minimizing the vehicle fuel consumption and the reference tracking deviations. Simulations indicate how this formulation outperforms existing alternatives, both in terms of fuel-efficiency and tracking error. Third, we address non-cooperative platooning by proposing a vehicle-following controller suitable for fuel-efficient control of heavy-duty vehicles. The proposed controller explores both the benefits given by the short inter-vehicular distance and those given by pulse-and-glide, i.e., alternating traction and coasting phases. A simulation study suggests fuel saving of up to 18% compared to the single vehicle case, and up to 7% compared to when a constant-distance vehicle-following controller is used. Last, we propose a vehicle-following controller aimed at exploiting long preview of the preceding vehicle trajectory by directly manipulating the inputs of low-level vehicle controllers. This is achieved through a model predictive controller that uses a short prediction horizon and includes a terminal state set that incorporates preview information about the preceding vehicle. Experiments indicate the ability of the controller to avoid unnecessary braking, while simulations show behavior similar to the optimal control behavior.
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