Autonomous platooning to be studied by American Center for Mobility


This feature is courtesy of Driven, the story of how the Detroit region is leading the world in next-generation mobility.

Fresh off the release of its Preparing the Workforce for Automated Vehicles and Truck Platooning State of the Industry 2018 studies, the American Center for Mobility (ACM) is back to the books.

The Ypsilanti-based mobility research and test center recently announced the commencement of a new study in mobility. Its latest will examine fuel-efficient platooning in mixed traffic highway environments and communication systems reliability in adverse weather scenarios. It will also serve to validate simulation models.

According to ACM, a study of this magnitude has yet to be completed. Organizations representing defense, academia, and the public sector will work together to autonomously control an entire fleet of vehicles, including throttling, braking, and steering, while optimizing fuel efficiency and safety. It is a big step for connected and autonomous vehicles, or CAVs. The U.S. Department of Energy is funding the program.

“This is an unprecedented study with extensive implications as the project touches on many aspects of the CAV ecosystem,” says Jeff Rupp, chief technical officer for ACM. “Automated truck platooning promises increased fuel efficiency, improved safety, and greater throughput on America’s roads. This project is an important step to commercializing and safely deploying the technology.”

Participants in the study include Auburn University, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Michigan Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the United States Army and Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).

The two-year study will feature both military and commercial grade trucks.

"Unmanned driving has the potential to be a breakthrough capability that can enhance our mission efficiency many times over, and the potential that advancing this work at ACM brings is extraordinary," says Bernie Theisen of TARDEC Ground Vehicle Robotics. "But what we're most excited and passionate about are the safety advances we can make here and with our other partners.”

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