Reducing time headway in platoons under the MPF topology when using sensors and wireless communications

Elham Abolfazli*, Bart Besselink*, Themistoklis Charalambous

*Corresponding author for this work

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In platoons under the multiple-predecessor following (MPF) topology, the exchange of information is usually assumed to be via Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication links. Communication delays, however, deteriorate internal and string stability and, as a consequence, to guarantee stability of the platoon the time headway between vehicles should be increased. Autonomous vehicles are nowadays equipped with a multitude of sensors, the three primary being radar, lidar and camera. The combination of such sensors allows a vehicle, among others, to detect the distance and speed of nearby objects. In this paper, we incorporate the available sensors of vehicles to anticipate the communication delays vehicles experience with their preceding vehicles, thus improving the stability conditions and subsequently reducing the time headway. More specifically, by incorporating sensors we alleviate the communication delays between neighboring vehicles. We demonstrate that (i) the system is internally stable irrespective of the size of the communication delays, and (ii) the time headway can be reduced, by deriving a sufficient condition which provides a lower bound on the time headway that guarantees string stability. With this new lower bound on the time headway, platoons do not need to massively increase the time headway in order to compensate for the effects of communications delays. Simulations demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed lower bound.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2020 59th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781728174471
Publication statusPublished - 14-Dec-2020
Event59th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2020 - Virtual, Jeju Island, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 14-Dec-202018-Dec-2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control
ISSN (Print)0743-1546


Conference59th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2020
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
CityVirtual, Jeju Island


  • communication delays
  • multiple-predecessor following
  • Platooning
  • sensors
  • string stability
  • time headway

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