Freight tonnage is predicted to more than double in the next twenty years; at the same time, infrastructure capacity will increase by only three to four percent. Strategies for addressing this conundrum are limited: move freight to other modes, move freight to other roadways, or shift travel time periods. These solutions will have a limited impact on this problem; a more likely approach will be to utilize technology to increase infrastructure capacity beyond the addition of concrete and asphalt. Within the private sector, multifleet cooperatives are forming to share customers, shipments, and data. It is a natural extension for these cooperatives to start "platooning" trucks and trailers that share similar routing and dispatching environments. The complexity of fleet types, business models, and vehicle configurations are myriad in the trucking industry. Given these factors, this research takes advantage of the increasing maturity of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, as well as the widespread deployment of real-time dedicated short-range communications (DSRC)-based vehicle-to-vehicle/vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2V/V2I) connectivity; V2V/V2I (also known as V2X) is expected to reduce emissions and improve freight efficiency, fleet efficiency, safety, and highway mobility over the next decade. The goal of this research is to perform the technical work, evaluation, and industry engagement necessary to identify and answer the key issues that must be addressed prior to market introduction of heavy truck CACC. These issues must address industry needs as well as the needs of other highway travelers regarding traffic flow and safety. This work, if successful, will lead to new levels of freight/fleet efficiency and improved mobility for all highway travelers, while substantially improving the trucking-based emissions picture and enhancing the V2X communications environment.
The intent of this research is to investigate the potential of heavy vehicle Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC) to significantly increase safety while reducing the cost of every mile traveled by heavy vehicles.