GB2551248A - Method for operating a vehicle in a platoon - Google Patents

Method for operating a vehicle in a platoon Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2551248A
GB2551248A GB1705878.5A GB201705878A GB2551248A GB 2551248 A GB2551248 A GB 2551248A GB 201705878 A GB201705878 A GB 201705878A GB 2551248 A GB2551248 A GB 2551248A
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United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
vehicle
vehicles
platoon
method according
indicating signal
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
GB1705878.5A
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GB201705878D0 (en
Inventor
Nelson James
Ott Ethan
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Daimler AG
Original Assignee
Daimler AG
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Daimler AG filed Critical Daimler AG
Priority to GB1705878.5A priority Critical patent/GB2551248A/en
Publication of GB201705878D0 publication Critical patent/GB201705878D0/en
Publication of GB2551248A publication Critical patent/GB2551248A/en
Application status is Withdrawn legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G1/00Traffic control systems for road vehicles
    • G08G1/16Anti-collision systems
    • G08G1/167Driving aids for lane monitoring, lane changing, e.g. blind spot detection
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G1/00Traffic control systems for road vehicles
    • G08G1/22Platooning, i.e. convoy of communicating vehicles

Abstract

A peer-to-peer connection between first (12) and second (14) vehicles is used to transmit, to an electronic control unit of the first vehicle, an indication that an object (24) that is diagonally behind or to the side of the second vehicle has been detected (26) by the second vehicle. Receipt of this indication causes the first vehicle to output an indicating signal. This indicating signal may include an image, presented on a screen inside the first vehicle, of part of the surroundings of the second vehicle, the image having been captured by the second vehicle. The indicating signal may be a light signal arranged on a side mirror, on inside a cabin of the first vehicle (e.g. on an A-pillar or dash instrument panel). The indicating signal may be used by a driver of the first vehicle to assess the safety of a proposed lane change maneuver of the platoon.

Description

Method for operating a Vehicle in a Platoon

The invention relates to a method for operating a vehicle in a platoon. US 2012/0188374 A1 shows a method for operating a driver assist system of an automobile, comprising the step of evaluating with the driver assist system data from a camera arranged on or in at least one outside mirror and oriented in the driving direction. The method further comprises the step of determining from the camera data a length of an automobile in front of the automobile or a length of an automobile convoy in front of the automobile. The method further comprises the step of providing a recommendation relating to a passing maneuver by taking into consideration the determined length when determining the recommendation.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a method by means of which a safe and efficient operation of a platoon comprising at least two vehicles can be realized.

This object is solved by a method having the features of patent claim 1. Advantageous embodiments with expedient developments of the invention are indicated in the other patent claims.

The present invention relates to a method for operating a first vehicle in a platoon comprising at least the first vehicle and a second vehicle following the first vehicle. For example, the first vehicle can be a leading vehicle of the platoon. Moreover, the second vehicle can travel directly behind the first vehicle or at least one or more further vehicles of the platoon is or are travelling between the first and the second vehicles. Moreover, for example, the vehicles are commercial vehicles such as trucks.

The method according to the present invention comprises the step of establishing a peer-to-peer connection between the first and second vehicles. Furthermore, the method comprises the step of, by means of an electronic control unit of the first vehicle, receiving, via the established peer-to-peer connection, at least one information signal indicative of at least one object detected by a sensor device of the second vehicle, the object being at least partially diagonally behind or beside the second vehicle. In other words, the object is at least partially diagonally behind the second vehicle, or the object is at least partially beside the second vehicle, wherein the object is detected by said sensor device of the second vehicle. In the method, said information signal is indicative of said detected object. For example, the information signal is received by the electronic control unit of the first vehicle directly from the second vehicle via the direct peer-to-peer connection so that, for example, the information signal is provided by the second vehicle, in particular by a second electronic control unit of the second vehicle. Preferably, the peer-to-peer connection is a direct and wireless data connection between the first and second vehicles so that, for example, the first vehicle can wirelessly receive the information signal from the second vehicle.

For example, the vehicles, in particular their control units, are paired on order to establish the peer-to-peer connection which is also referred to as P2P or P2P connection. The P2P connection can be established via at least one physical channel such as, for example, DSRC, WiFi, LTE, etc. For example, the peer-to-peer connection is established as a vehicle-to-vehicle connection (V2V) via which the vehicles are directly connected with each other and can exchange data directly. In other word, the P2P is a V2V connection allowing a direct vehicle-to-vehicle communication via which the first vehicle receives the information signal directly from the second vehicle. This means that the first vehicle does not receive the information signal from a server being different from the vehicles, so that the information is not transmitted from the second vehicle to the first vehicle via a server being different from the vehicles, but directly from the second vehicle to the first vehicle.

Furthermore, the method according to the present invention comprises the step of, by means of at least one output unit of the first vehicle, outputting at least one indicating signal on the basis of the information signal. For example, by means of the indicating signal the driver of the first vehicle is informed about the object detected by the sensor device of the second vehicle. In other words, by means of the indicating signal, the intention of the driver of the first vehicle can be drawn to the fact that at least one object is besides or diagonally behind the second vehicle of the platoon so that, for example, the driver of the first vehicle can refrain from changing lines thus avoiding decoupling from the second vehicle and breaking the platoon. Moreover, a particularly safe operation of the platoon can be realized since collisions of the platoon with the object can be avoided. For example, the object is a traffic participant and/or a vehicle and/or another object.

The idea behind the present invention is that a paired platoon which is also referred to as a convoy should stay grouped together for maximal fuel efficiency benefit, even during lane changes if possible. The present invention can give the driver of the first vehicle information on if a lane change is possible for the following second vehicle based on if the following second vehicle’s sensor device detects an object diagonally behind or alongside the second vehicle. The indicating signal is a piece of information provided to inform the driver of the first vehicle, that at least one object is alongside or diagonally behind the second vehicle. Thus, the driver of the first vehicle can use this information to help decide to initiate a lane change for the convoy (platoon). If, by means of the indicating signal, the driver of the first vehicle is informed about the fact that at least one object is alongside or diagonally behind the second vehicle so that the second vehicle cannot perform a lane change without colliding with said object, the driver of the first vehicle can refrain from initiating or performing a lane change thus keeping the platoon or convoy grouped together so that a particularly high fuel efficiency and a safe operation of the convoy which is, for example, configured as a paired truck convoy, can be realized.

In a preferred embodiment the indicating signal comprises at least one image of at least a portion of the surroundings of the second vehicle, the image being captured by the sensor device of the second vehicle, in particular by at least one camera of the sensor device. Thus, for example, the information signal is a video or camera feed characterizing the image or a video of the surroundings. In this regard, for example, the image or the video is presented on a screen arranged in the interior of the first vehicle.

Alternatively or additionally, the indicating signal can comprise at least one simple symbolic signal by means of which the driver of the first vehicle is informed about said object.

In a further embodiment of the invention, the indicating signal thus comprises at least one light signal output by means of at least one light source of the output unit, wherein, for example, the light source is arranged on a side mirror, in particular on an outside side mirror, of the first vehicle. Moreover, the light source can be arranged in the first vehicle, in particular on a dashboard in the interior of the first vehicle.

Further advantages, features, and details of the invention derive from the following description of a preferred embodiment as well as from the drawings. The features and feature combinations previously mentioned in the description as well as the features and feature combinations mentioned in the following description of the figures and/or shown in the figures alone can be employed not only in the respectively indicated combination but also in any other combination or taken alone without leaving the scope of the invention.

The drawings shows in:

Fig. 1 part of a schematic top view of a platoon comprising at least two vehicles, wherein Fig. 1 is used to illustrate and describe a method according to the present invention; and

Fig. 2 part of a schematic and perspective view of the interior of a first one of said vehicles.

In the figures the same elements or elements having the same function are indicated by the same reference signs.

Fig. 1 shows in a schematic top view a platoon 10 comprising at least a first vehicle 12 and a second vehicle 14 travelling along a first lane 16 of a road 18 comprising the first lane 16 and a second lane 20 besides the first lane 16. In the embodiment shown in Fig. 1, the respective vehicle 12, 14 is a commercial vehicle such as a truck, wherein the vehicles 12 and 14 are grouped together in said platoon 10 which is also referred to as a convoy or truck convoy.

In the following, a method for operating the first vehicle 12 in the platoon 12 is described and illustrated on the basis of figures 1 and 2. As can be seen from Fig. 1, the second vehicle 14 is a following vehicle of the platoon 10, the second vehicle 14 following directly the first vehicle 12 which is a leading vehicle of the platoon 10. As will be described in greater detail below, in said method, an electronic control unit 22 of the first vehicle 12 receives at least one information signal indicative of at least one object 24 detected by a sensor device 26 of the second vehicle 14, the object 24 being partially besides the second vehicle 14. For example, the object 14 is a vehicle such as a car travelling along the second lane 20 and overtaking or starting to overtake the second vehicle 14. Fig. 1 also shows a further vehicle 26 travelling along the lane 20. Moreover, in said method, an output unit 30 (Fig. 2) of the first vehicle 12 outputs at least one indicating signal 34 on the basis of the received information signal.

As can be seen from Fig. 1, indicator lights 34 of the first vehicle 12 are activated in order to initiate and/or give notice of a lane change of the first vehicle 12. For example, in such a lane change the first vehicle 12 changes from the lane 16 to the lane 20. For example, the indicator lights 34 had been activated by the driver of the first vehicle 12 or automatically by the electronic control unit 22. Since, in said method, the driver of the first vehicle 12 is informed about the fact that the object 24 is at least partially besides or diagonally behind the second vehicle 14 so that the second vehicle 14 cannot perform a lane change from the lane 16 to the lane 20 without colliding with the object 24 the driver of the first vehicle 12 can stop or refrain from performing a lane change thereby keeping the platoon 10 grouped together. Thus, a particularly efficient and safe operation of the platoon 10 can be realized since collisions of the platoon 10 with objects can be avoided and a particularly high fuel efficiency can be realized.

When at least two vehicles such as commercial vehicles are paired and in a closefollowing formation such as the platoon 10, it would be beneficial to the lead driver, i.e. the leading vehicle if the driver were able to see side camera views of the following vehicle or vehicles. For the purposes of this description, “paired” vehicles can be defined as an association between two or more vehicles with proper authentication and authorization their operational information (states, sensor information, etc.) may be exchanged in (near) real-time. The pairing process begins with two vehicles, in particular trucks, in proximity of each other. Through data exchange directly between the two vehicles, or through a central server, both vehicles such as the vehicles 12 and 14 are notified of the ability to joint together into a pair or a platoon. When the respective drivers of the vehicles or control systems of the vehicles have agreed to enter the platoon (acceptance may be automatic) the vehicles are arranged on the roadway (through a combination of manual and/or automatic control) in a proper driving formation. In many cases this formation includes decreasing and maintaining a following distance between the paired/platooning vehicles much closer than normal.

In such a pair/platooning formation, if the lead or leading vehicle wants/needs to change lanes, it would be beneficial for them at least be notified of obstructions in the desired lane position of the lead vehicle as well as the desired lane position of the following vehicle(s).

Said method helps solve this issue which can be solved by a number of solutions that can be utilized with increasing visual add complexity. Further in an autonomous state the vehicle will require a more sophisticated and complex communication scheme.

In the following, a basic embodiment is described, wherein said basic embodiment is used in a conventional platoon between two or more driver-controlled vehicles such as the vehicles 12 and 14. In said embodiment, the vehicles can be equipped with blind spot assist indicators such as illuminated triangle icons on e.g. side mirrors that receive radar sensor information. Such blind spot assist systems are well-known and widely implemented on currently available passenger cars. In a platooned scenario, once two vehicles are paired and in close-following formation, the following vehicle can send their blind spot detection data to the leading vehicle via a variety of physical channels such as, for example, DSRC, WiFi, LTE, etc. If an object or a vehicle is detected by the following vehicle’s blind spot assist system, the leading vehicle indicator triangle will be illuminated informing the lead driver that they should not change lanes as there is an obstruction for the convoy, in particular for the second vehicle 14 of the convoy. If a turn signal such as the indicator lights 34 is or are toggled an audio alert can also be triggered. Only when the lead vehicle indicator triangle is not illuminated, indicating that both the leading and the following vehicles have no lane obstructions, should a lane change occur.

This means, for example, said indicating signal can comprise at least one light signal output by means of at least one light source of the output unit, the light source being arranged on a side mirror 34 of the first vehicle 12. For example, said light source can form said triangle used to inform the driver of the first vehicle 12 about said obstruction in form of, for example, the object 24.

In a further embodiment, to better inform the leading vehicle of where a detected object is located, a dual illuminated triangle scheme on the side mirror 34 can be implemented where e.g. on the driver’s side mirror such as the side mirror 34 a secondary triangle is illuminated to indicate there is an obstruction in the desired lane position of the following vehicle, and a primary triangle is illuminated to indicate that there is an obstruction in the desired lane position of the leading vehicle. The orientation of the triangles can be set up in a variety adjacent layouts or e.g. in opposite corners. Additionally or alternatively, a dash icon or A-panel display can be shown to the lead driver to inform them which obstruction scenario(s) preclude them from changing lanes. A further embodiment can eschew an illuminated triangle blind spot assist scheme and instead allow for mirror camera information to be passed from the following vehicle to the leading vehicle. In this embodiment, the interior of a vehicle’s A-pillars can be fitted with at least one display screen 36 of display screens that provides or provide a feed of that vehicle’s side view cameras that are used in place of side mirrors. In other words, for example, in the embodiment shown in Fig. 2, the indicating signal comprises at least one image or a video of at least a portion of the surroundings 38 of the second vehicle 14, the image or the video being captured by the sensor device 26, in particular by the at least one camera of the sensor device 26. For example, said camera is arranged on an outside side mirror of the second vehicle 14. Thus, for example, said information signal is an image or video feed by means of which the image of the video captured by the sensor device 26 is transmitted to the first vehicle 12, in particular to the electronic control unit 22. The captured image or video is presented on said display screen 36 which is also referred to as a screen. Said screen is arranged in the interior of the vehicle 12 so that, for example, the driver of the vehicle 12 can watch the image or the video presented on said screen.

When paired the following vehicle can transmit or stream their side view camera feed to the leading vehicle display screens. This feed can be viewed by the lead driver on their displays in a variety of formats such as picture-in-picture, split screen, or other known display formats controllable via a display toggle control on, for example, a steering wheel 38 of the first vehicle 12 or the display screen 36 itself. The following vehicle feed can be always-on for the leading vehicle, or only visible when a turn indicator is toggled. The video feed system immediately above could continue to use radar sensors and audio alerts to inform the lead vehicle driver of obstructions or vehicles in the desired lane positions. Alternatively, radar sensors can be removed and obstruction/vehicle detection can be carried out by the camera object detection and classification software.

List of reference signs 10 platoon 12 first vehicle 14 second vehicle 16 first lane 18 road 20 second lane 22 electronic control unit 24 object 26 sensor device 28 further vehicle 30 output unit 32 information signal 34 side mirror 36 display screen 38 steering wheel

Claims (8)

Claims
1. A method for operating a first vehicle (12) in a platoon (10) comprising at least the first (12) vehicle and a second vehicle (14) following the first vehicle (12), the method comprising: - establishing a peer-to-peer connection between the first and second vehicles (12, 14); - by means of an electronic control unit (22) of the first vehicle (12): receiving, via the peer-to-peer connection, at least one information signal indicative of at least one object (24) detected by a sensor device (26) of the second vehicle (14) and being at least partially diagonally behind or besides the second vehicle (14); and - by means of at least one output unit (30) of the first vehicle (12): outputting at least one indicating signal (32) on the basis of the information signal.
2. The method according to claim 1, wherein the indicating signal (32) comprises at least one image of at least a portion of the surroundings (38) of the second vehicle, the image being captured by the sensor device of the second vehicle.
3. The method according to claim 2, wherein the image is presented on a screen (36) arranged in the interior of the first vehicle (12).
4. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the indicating signal (32) comprises at least one light signal output by means of at least one light source of the output unit.
5. The method according to claim 4, wherein the light source is arranged on a side mirror (34) of the first vehicle (12).
6. The method according to claim 4 or 5, wherein the light source is arranged in the interior, in particular in a cabin, of the first vehicle (12).
7. The method according to any one of claims 4 to 6, wherein the light source is arranged on an A-pillar and/or on a dash instrument cluster of the first vehicle (12).
8. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the information signal is received by the electronic control unit (22) directly from the second vehicle (14) or from a server being different from the vehicles (12, 14).
GB1705878.5A 2017-04-12 2017-04-12 Method for operating a vehicle in a platoon Withdrawn GB2551248A (en)

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Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
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Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
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GB2551248A true GB2551248A (en) 2017-12-13

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Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US10216195B2 (en) 2011-07-06 2019-02-26 Peloton Technology, Inc. Applications for using mass estimations for vehicles
US10254764B2 (en) 2016-05-31 2019-04-09 Peloton Technology, Inc. Platoon controller state machine
US10369998B2 (en) 2016-08-22 2019-08-06 Peloton Technology, Inc. Dynamic gap control for automated driving
US10474166B2 (en) 2011-07-06 2019-11-12 Peloton Technology, Inc. System and method for implementing pre-cognition braking and/or avoiding or mitigation risks among platooning vehicles

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US20060290482A1 (en) * 2005-06-23 2006-12-28 Mazda Motor Corporation Blind-spot detection system for vehicle
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US20130100287A1 (en) * 2011-10-25 2013-04-25 Altek Autotronics Corp. Blind Spot Detection System and Blind Spot Detection Method Thereof
US20130176145A1 (en) * 2012-01-10 2013-07-11 Xiao Lin Yu Automobile blind spot detection system and method
EP3091520A1 (en) * 2015-05-07 2016-11-09 Continental Automotive GmbH Device and method for controlling automatic driving in convoy
GB2541294A (en) * 2015-08-06 2017-02-15 Ford Global Tech Llc Vehicle display and mirror

Patent Citations (7)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
DE10109052A1 (en) * 2001-02-24 2002-09-05 Daimler Chrysler Ag Arrangement of vehicles in train/convoy combination, has last vehicle indicator and first vehicle controller for indicator, and both vehicles have device for vehicle-to-vehicle communications
US20060290482A1 (en) * 2005-06-23 2006-12-28 Mazda Motor Corporation Blind-spot detection system for vehicle
WO2010064963A1 (en) * 2008-12-05 2010-06-10 Volvo Lastvagnar Ab A lane change assistance system
US20130100287A1 (en) * 2011-10-25 2013-04-25 Altek Autotronics Corp. Blind Spot Detection System and Blind Spot Detection Method Thereof
US20130176145A1 (en) * 2012-01-10 2013-07-11 Xiao Lin Yu Automobile blind spot detection system and method
EP3091520A1 (en) * 2015-05-07 2016-11-09 Continental Automotive GmbH Device and method for controlling automatic driving in convoy
GB2541294A (en) * 2015-08-06 2017-02-15 Ford Global Tech Llc Vehicle display and mirror

Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US10216195B2 (en) 2011-07-06 2019-02-26 Peloton Technology, Inc. Applications for using mass estimations for vehicles
US10234871B2 (en) 2011-07-06 2019-03-19 Peloton Technology, Inc. Distributed safety monitors for automated vehicles
US10474166B2 (en) 2011-07-06 2019-11-12 Peloton Technology, Inc. System and method for implementing pre-cognition braking and/or avoiding or mitigation risks among platooning vehicles
US10254764B2 (en) 2016-05-31 2019-04-09 Peloton Technology, Inc. Platoon controller state machine
US10369998B2 (en) 2016-08-22 2019-08-06 Peloton Technology, Inc. Dynamic gap control for automated driving

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