A method of determining the optimum vehicle gap distance for a vehicle in a platoon, the vehicle having a cooling fan and a coolant-based cooling system. The vehicle's vehicle control system determines a base gap distance, based on safety considerations related to platoon operation. A gap control process stores a fan turn-on threshold temperature, which is less than the coolant temperature that will result in the vehicle's cooling fan becoming activated. During vehicle operation, the gap control process receives a current coolant temperature value, and compares that value to the fan turn-on threshold temperature. If the coolant temperature is at or above the fan turn-on threshold temperature, the vehicle is operated to increase the base gap distance.
Thomas E. Reinhart