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Trucks that drive after one another, so-called platooning, reduce the fuel consumption by one-sixth per vehicle. Since the distance between the vehicles is only a few meters, it is crucial that the real-time communication between the trucks never fail. Research from Halmstad University proposes new methods for reliable truck communication.
There are several advantages to trucks driving close together in road trains, or so-called platoons, in the future. First and foremost, a reduced air resistance around the trucks leads to a drastic decrease in fuel consumption. Tests show that the trucks that follow the leading truck can drive the same distance on 16 percent less fuel. Even the first truck is favoured by the platoon – it reduces its fuel consumption by approximately five percent. Platooning is also predicted to lead to better road safety and more efficiently utilised road networks.
– Everything indicates that platooning will be a reality on our highways within a few years. Product development and research has been going on for a long time. But there are still many technical challenges to overcome, including reliable communication between the vehicles, says Marcus Larsson, who presents his research within the field today at his licentiate seminar at Halmstad University.
The vehicles in a platoon communicate with each other over radio, through a wi-fi similar protocol, in order to increase their understanding of each other and the surroundings. Marcus Larsson's research aims to improve the circumstances for this communication.
– Reliable communication between vehicles is difficult to achieve. The communication occurs at a relatively high radio frequency, so the antennas require line of sight. This, in combination with the large size and geometry of the trucks, plus the fact that they drive in varying environments, is technically challenging, says Marcus Larsson.
Marcus Larsson has studied a solution with two antennas per truck to avoid radio shadow between the vehicles – one antenna on each side-view mirror. This way, the system can use the antenna with the highest probability of line of sight conditions, hence the highest probability of successful communication, for example the antenna in an inner curve. Marcus Larsson has also developed a method for the most accurate information flow possible between the vehicles, based on the quality of previous information transfer.
– I hope that my research results will contribute to the development of efficient platooning. For environmental reasons, it is important that platooning becomes a reality as soon as possible, says Marcus Larsson.
Marcus Larsson is a PhD student within Embedded and Intelligent Systems Industrial Graduate School (EISIGS) at the School of Information Technology at Halmstad University. PhD students within EISIGS conduct their research both at a company and at Halmstad University. Marcus Larsson is connected to Qamcom Research and Technology AB.
Research at Halmstad University is often conducted in close collaboration with the industry. Many research projects at the School of Information Technology focus on intelligent vehicles and platooning. Read more.
Text: LOUISE WANDEL
Photo: NIKLAS ARABÄCK (if nothing else is specified)
Time and place: February 5 at 10:15 AM in Wigforss, house J (“Visionen”), Halmstad University.
Opponent: Elad Schiller, Assistant Professor vid Chalmers.
Examiner: Björn Åstrand, Assistant Professor at Halmstad University.
Main supervisor: Magnus Jonsson, Professor at Halmstad University.
Assistant supervisor: Tony Larsson, Professor at Halmstad University.