Class-8 trucks with standard-trailers net a fuel savings of between 5.2 and 7.8 percent in a three-truck CACC platoon. With aerodynamic-trailers, these savings can grow to 14.2 percent.

Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Project testing undertaken at Transport Canada’s Motor Vehicle Test Centre in October 2016.


Summary Information

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Project and the University of California (Berkeley) Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH) developed and tested three-truck platooning technology using cooperative adaptive cruise control (CACC), in collaboration with Volvo Trucks.


A modified version of the SAE J1321 Type II fuel consumption test procedure was used to evaluate the fuel-saving benefits of platooning for various aerodynamic tractor-trailer configurations. Three tractor-trailers equipped with CACC control systems and an unequipped tractor-trailer were used assess impacts of platooning on fuel consumption. Auxiliary fuel tanks were installed on the test vehicles to permit direct measurement of fuel use during each test run using a gravimetric fuel-weighing procedure.

A test program was devised, through consensus by the project partners, to examine the influence of four parameters on the fuel-savings potential of the three-truck CACC-based platoon:
  • Separation Distance/Time: 17 m (57 ft) to 43 m (142 ft), equivalent to 0.6 s to 1.5 s at 105 km/h (65 mi/h)
  • Truck configuration: standard-trailer vs. aerodynamic-trailer
  • Vehicle speed: 89 km/h (55 mi/h) and 105 km/h (65 mi/h).
  • Vehicle weight: 14,000 kg (31,000 lbs) and 29,400 kg (65,000 lbs).


For the range of test conditions examined, the net fuel savings for the full vehicle platoon was measured to be between 5.2 percent and 7.8 percent. The combined effect of platooning and aerodynamic trailer devices was measured to be up to 14.2 percent at the shortest separation distance of 17.4 m.

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Fuel-economy testing of a three-vehicle truck platooning system

Author: McAuliffe, Brian R.; Mark Croken; Mojtaba Ahmadi-Baloutaki; and Arash Raeesi

Published By: Aerodynamics Laboratory, National Research Council Canada

Source Date: 04/22/2017

Other Reference Number: LTR-AL-2017-0008



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Benefit ID: 2018-01246