Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Kevin Heaslip


Kevin Heaslip


Anthony Chen


Ryan Gerdes


Automated Electric Transportation (AET) proposes a system of automated platooning vehicles electrically powered by the roadway via wireless inductive power transfer. This has the potential to provide roadway transportation that is less congested, more flexible, cleaner, safer, and faster than the current system. The focus of this research is to show how platooning can be accomplished in a safe manner and what capacities such an automated platooning system can achieve. To accomplish this, first two collision models are developed to show the performance of automated platoons during an emergency braking scenario: a stochastic model coded in Matlab/Simulink and a deterministic model with closed-form solutions. The necessary parameters for safe platooning are then defined: brake variances, communication delays, and maximum acceptable collision speeds. The two collision models are compared using the Student's t-test to show their equivalence. It is shown that while the two do not yield identical results, in most cases the results of the deterministic model are more conservative than and reasonably close to the results of the deterministic model. The deterministic model is then used to develop a capacity model describing automated platooning flow as a function of speed and platoon size. For conditions where platooning is initially unsafe, three amelioration protocols are evaluated: brake derating, collaborative braking, and increasing the maximum acceptable collision speed. Automated platooning flow is evaluated for all of these scenarios, compared both with each other and with traditional roadway flow patterns. The results of these models show that when platooning is initially safe, very high vehicle flows are possible: for example, over 12,000 veh/hr for initial speeds of 30 m/s and 10 vehicle platoons. Varying system paramaters can have large ramifications for overall capacity. For example, autonomous (non-platooning) vehicles do not promise anywhere near this level, and in many cases struggle to approach the capacity of traditional roadways. Additionally, ensuring safety under an emergency braking standard requires very small communication delays and, most importantly, tight braking variances between the vehicles within a platoon. As proposed by AET, a single type of electric vehicle, combined with modern wireless communications, can make platooning safer than was previously possible without requiring amelioration. Both brake derating and collaborative braking can make platooning safer, but they reduce capacity and may not be practical for real-world implementation. Stricter versions of these, cumulative brake derating and exponential collaborative braking, are also evaluated. Both can degrade capacity to near current roadway levels, especially if a large degree of amelioration is required. Increasing maximum acceptable collision speed, such as through designing vehicles to better withstand rear-end collisions, shows more promise in enabling safe intraplatoon interactions, especially for scenarios with small communication delays (i.e. under 50 ms).