Heterogeneous Vehicular Platooning With Stable Decentralized Linear Feedback Control

Platooning which is defined as controlling a group of autonomous vehicles (multiple followers and one leader) to have a desired distance between them while following a desired trajectory has caught on recently in the control engineering discipline. Platooning brings along promising advantages, namely, increasing highway capacity and safety, and reducing fuel consumption. In this paper, using linearized longitudinal dynamic models for each vehicle, we investigate the control problem of vehicular platooning to have all vehicles followed the leader under a constant spacing policy. Under decentralized linear feedback controllers and taking account of heterogeneity in the dynamic models and feedback information to the vehicles, a general dynamic representation for the platoon is obtained. Having this and the proposed controller, stability analysis is developed for any information flow topology (IFT) between vehicles and any number of vehicles. As a case study, a platoon with one leader and two followers is investigated through the proposed strategy, and its stability conditions are provided. Numerical simulations are provided in which the stability range of control gains and the effect of different IFTs on the performance of the platoon are discussed.