Automotive Research Center
Automotive Research Center
A U.S. Army Center of Excellence for Modeling & Simulation of Ground Vehicles
Led by the University of Michigan

Improving Energy Efficiency and Mobility of Connected Fleets via Route Preview and Cooperative Control

The main objective is to evaluate the impact wireless connectivity and cooperative control can have on efficiency and mobility of a fleet of military trucks. This is different from the well-explored technology of truck platooning when coordination is arranged centrally. Our proposed scenarios rely on recent advances in vehicular connectivity that enable individual vehicles to cooperate and exchange information within a fleet. This provides more autonomy to each individual vehicle while offering some of the benefits of cooperative motion. For instance in off-road scenarios with unknown terrain, a lead vehicle can communicate back to a backend server perceived soil conditions, its chosen path and its roll, yaw, and pitch. This generates a dynamic map of the unexplored terrain. Following vehicles can learn from the preceding vehicle’s "mistakes" and gradually reroute to faster, safer, or more energy efficient routes.

In the first year, we developed an off-road microsimulation environment with connected trucks, realistic road geometries, stringent terrain, and operation scenarios for cooperative cruise simulations. We also devised and implemented cooperative cruise algorithms that rely on i) partial information exchange between trucks and ii) road preview to harmonize motion and reduce idling intervals.

The goals of the proposed research in the second year are 1) to gain in-depth understanding of how soldiers actually drive/operate their vehicle in convoys, 2) to mathematically formulate objective functions of interest to Army in off-road driving on a 2 dimensional plane, 3) to solve the posed optimization problems in real-time by taking advantage of shared intelligence of a connected fleet, 4) to quantify possible gains in the fleet performance (agility, safety, travel time, and energy efficiency) in the simulation environment.

An additional effort is being funded to experimentally evaluate the impact of wireless connectivity and cooperative control on efficiency and mobility of a fleet of military vehicle in off-road driving. This research will support ongoing simulation efforts on off-road convoys, via a scaled vehicle-in-the-loop experimental testbed in an off-road field. The autonomous experimental vehicle will communicate and collaborate with other (simulated) vehicles towards increasing the fleet mobility. A backend computational server will be the link between the experimental vehicle and the software simulated vehicles and allows us to emulate communication between vehicles in a fleet. Communication latency, lost packets, and computational bottlenecks are expected and it is a goal of the proposed project to quantify and remedy them in realistic environments.

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Sponsored by U.S. Army CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center
Cooperative Agreement W56HZV-19-2-0001

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