• November 29th, 2021

With inexpensive sensor technologies and integrated control systems becoming widespread in the automotive industry, platooning has emerged as a viable method for reducing fuel and energy consumption of vehicles, particularly within the heavy-duty trucking sector. In this report, we computationally analyzed the effect of platooning on semi-trucks with regards to aerodynamic drag using computational fluid dynamics. We examined two-truck platoons at various spacing intervals to pinpoint reductions in drag for each truck in the platoon relative to the baseline single truck. Two turbulence models, Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) and Detached Eddy Simulation (DES), provided mean relative drag reductions from 20% to 35% for spacings of 1.0-0.15 vehicle lengths. The lead truck saw reductions of up to 15% with RANS and 25% with DES, while the trail truck saw reductions of up to 60% with RANS and 45% with DES. Based on the proportion of aerodynamic drag to total power, strategic platooning could result in total energy savings of 20%.

Read the full report here.