Vehicle Platooning                                                    image of Cooperative Systems Section logo

image of cars parallel parked


Automobile platforms implement cruise control through various sensors around the vehicle, including radar, sonar, and laser, providing a passive and uncooperative approach to adaptive cruise control and vehicle teaming. In 2009, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) completed an internal research project that developed a system that enabled a wireless, cooperative approach to vehicle platooning.


Engineers implemented a wireless communication protocol to facilitate real-time sharing of state and position information between vehicles, allowing vehicles to join and form teams, increasing the string stability of the group and thus providing smoother traffic flow. The combination of wireless communication with other external sensor data allows for tighter vehicle grouping, which enables improved fuel efficiency and increased highway throughput without requiring extensive infrastructure modifications.

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The system developed has been integrated with a display unit in a human-driven vehicle and with the control systems of both a throttle and brake actuated vehicle and fully autonomous vehicle. The system has been demonstrated at:

Ryan D. Lamm, Director, (210) 522-5350,