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Look-ahead Control of Heavy Trucks utilizing Road Topography

The power to mass ratio of a heavy truck causes even moderate slopes to have a significant influence on the motion. The velocity will inevitable vary within an interval that is primarily determined by the ratio and the road topography. If further variations are actuated by a controller, there is a potential to lower the fuel consumption by taking the upcoming topography into account. This possibility is explored through theoretical and simulation studies as well as experiments in this work.

Look-ahead control is a predictive strategy that repeatedly solves an optimization problem online by means of a tailored dynamic programming algorithm. The scenario in this work is a drive mission for a heavy diesel truck where the route is known. It is assumed that there is road data on-board and that the current heading is known. A look-ahead controller is then developed to minimize fuel consumption and trip time.

The look-ahead control is realized and evaluated in a demonstrator vehicle and further studied in simulations. In the prototype demonstration, information about the road slope ahead is extracted from an on-board database in combination with a GPS unit. The algorithm calculates the optimal velocity trajectory online and feeds the conventional cruise controller with new set points. The results from the experiments and simulations confirm that look-ahead control reduces the fuel consumption without increasing the travel time. Also, the number of gear shifts is reduced. Drivers and passengers that have participated in tests and demonstrations have perceived the vehicle behavior as comfortable and natural.

Erik Hellström


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Last updated: 2021-11-10