WO2017200433A1 - Methods, platoon controller and vehicle controller, for enabling a decision to join a vehicle platoon - Google Patents

Methods, platoon controller and vehicle controller, for enabling a decision to join a vehicle platoon Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2017200433A1
WO2017200433A1 PCT/SE2016/050443 SE2016050443W WO2017200433A1 WO 2017200433 A1 WO2017200433 A1 WO 2017200433A1 SE 2016050443 W SE2016050443 W SE 2016050443W WO 2017200433 A1 WO2017200433 A1 WO 2017200433A1
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WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
platoon
vehicle
controller
profile
candidate
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PCT/SE2016/050443
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French (fr)
Inventor
Mona Matti
Azadeh BARARSANI
Aneta VULGARAKIS FELJAN
Athanasios KARAPANTELAKIS
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Telefonaktiebolaget Lm Ericsson (Publ)
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Priority to PCT/SE2016/050443 priority Critical patent/WO2017200433A1/en
Publication of WO2017200433A1 publication Critical patent/WO2017200433A1/en

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G1/00Traffic control systems for road vehicles
    • G08G1/22Platooning, i.e. convoy of communicating vehicles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60WCONJOINT CONTROL OF VEHICLE SUB-UNITS OF DIFFERENT TYPE OR DIFFERENT FUNCTION; CONTROL SYSTEMS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR HYBRID VEHICLES; ROAD VEHICLE DRIVE CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR PURPOSES NOT RELATED TO THE CONTROL OF A PARTICULAR SUB-UNIT
    • B60W30/00Purposes of road vehicle drive control systems not related to the control of a particular sub-unit, e.g. of systems using conjoint control of vehicle sub-units, or advanced driver assistance systems for ensuring comfort, stability and safety or drive control systems for propelling or retarding the vehicle
    • B60W30/14Adaptive cruise control
    • B60W30/16Control of distance between vehicles, e.g. keeping a distance to preceding vehicle
    • B60W30/165Automatically following the path of a preceding lead vehicle, e.g. "electronic tow-bar"
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G1/00Traffic control systems for road vehicles
    • G08G1/16Anti-collision systems
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60WCONJOINT CONTROL OF VEHICLE SUB-UNITS OF DIFFERENT TYPE OR DIFFERENT FUNCTION; CONTROL SYSTEMS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR HYBRID VEHICLES; ROAD VEHICLE DRIVE CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR PURPOSES NOT RELATED TO THE CONTROL OF A PARTICULAR SUB-UNIT
    • B60W2520/00Input parameters relating to overall vehicle dynamics
    • B60W2520/10Longitudinal speed
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60WCONJOINT CONTROL OF VEHICLE SUB-UNITS OF DIFFERENT TYPE OR DIFFERENT FUNCTION; CONTROL SYSTEMS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR HYBRID VEHICLES; ROAD VEHICLE DRIVE CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR PURPOSES NOT RELATED TO THE CONTROL OF A PARTICULAR SUB-UNIT
    • B60W2550/00Input parameters relating to exterior conditions
    • B60W2550/12Ambient conditions, e.g. wind or rain
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60WCONJOINT CONTROL OF VEHICLE SUB-UNITS OF DIFFERENT TYPE OR DIFFERENT FUNCTION; CONTROL SYSTEMS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR HYBRID VEHICLES; ROAD VEHICLE DRIVE CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR PURPOSES NOT RELATED TO THE CONTROL OF A PARTICULAR SUB-UNIT
    • B60W2550/00Input parameters relating to exterior conditions
    • B60W2550/20Traffic related input parameters
    • B60W2550/30Distance or speed relative to other vehicles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60WCONJOINT CONTROL OF VEHICLE SUB-UNITS OF DIFFERENT TYPE OR DIFFERENT FUNCTION; CONTROL SYSTEMS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR HYBRID VEHICLES; ROAD VEHICLE DRIVE CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR PURPOSES NOT RELATED TO THE CONTROL OF A PARTICULAR SUB-UNIT
    • B60W2550/00Input parameters relating to exterior conditions
    • B60W2550/40Involving external transmission of data to or from the vehicle
    • B60W2550/404Involving external transmission of data to or from the vehicle using telemetry
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60WCONJOINT CONTROL OF VEHICLE SUB-UNITS OF DIFFERENT TYPE OR DIFFERENT FUNCTION; CONTROL SYSTEMS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR HYBRID VEHICLES; ROAD VEHICLE DRIVE CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR PURPOSES NOT RELATED TO THE CONTROL OF A PARTICULAR SUB-UNIT
    • B60W2550/00Input parameters relating to exterior conditions
    • B60W2550/40Involving external transmission of data to or from the vehicle
    • B60W2550/408Data transmitted between vehicles

Abstract

A platoon controller, a vehicle controller and methods therein, for deciding whether a candidate vehicle (102) should join a vehicle platoon (100) with platoon vehicles or not. A platoon profile pp related to characteristics of the vehicle platoon, is defined by the platoon controller based on properties of the platoon vehicles, and the platoon profile pp can then be used by the vehicle controller as a basis for said decision. A candidate vehicle profile pk is defined based on properties of the candidate vehicle (102), and a suitability index is then determined based on the candidate vehicle profile pk and the platoon profile pp. The vehicle controller can then decide whether the candidate vehicle (102) should join the vehicle platoon (100) or not based on the suitability index. For example, the decision to join may be taken when the suitability index is above a predefined threshold.

Description

METHODS. PLATOON CONTROLLER AND VEHICLE CONTROLLER, FOR ENABLING A DECISION TO JOIN A VEHICLE PLATOON

Technical field

The present disclosure relates generally to methods, a platoon controller and a vehicle controller, for supporting or making a decision whether a candidate vehicle should join a vehicle platoon with platoon vehicles or not.

Background

Vehicles in the future are likely to have capability to be driven with the assistance of semi- or fully autonomous functionality, which enables the vehicles to join and be part of a vehicle platoon that is more or less automatically controlled to drive together as a group in a coordinated manner. Platooning thus refers to a mode of operation where a group of vehicles can travel together very close to each other, and they can autonomously steer, accelerate and brake in a coordinated manner, as controlled by means of a lead vehicle of the platoon. Such a platoon can generally be formed whenever there are enough vehicles to motivate the use of the platooning mode The platooning mode typically involves some short range wireless communication between the vehicles, commonly referred to as Device-to- Device. D20, communication, used for propagating various information and driving commands amongst the vehicles. There are several advantages that can be achieved by platooning. First, the space between adjacent vehicles in the platoon can be safely controlled with great precision so that the vehicles can drive very close to one another even at relatively high speed. This has the advantage of occupying less space as well as saving energy and fuel by utilizing the aerodynamic "pull" which occurs closely behind an adjacent front vehicle, especially at high speed. Second, the traffic flow can also be greatly improved by controlling all vehicles in the platoon to accelerate and break simultaneously and the closest safety distance between vehicles can be much smaller than when the vehicles are individually controlled by humans. in conventional solutions vehicle platoons are typically formed with vehicles of basically similar properties, e.g. all vehicles have the same destination or they are travelling with the same speed. A common scenario is that a platoon is formed with vehicles of a certain type or owned by the same company, such as trucks thai belong to the same fleet or the like, e.g. for transporting some goods to a common destination, it should be possible for any vehicle to join an existing vehicle platoon moving in the same direction as that vehicle, in order to potentially save fuel and time, increase traffic safety, and/or improve the traffic flow.

Existing technology such as Automated Cruise Control, ACC, and existing navigation systems e.g. GPS, GALILEO, and GLONASS, can be used by vehicles to autonomously form or join vehicle platoons and keep the vehicles driving together in the same direction. However, sometimes it may not be suitable and/or helpful for a vehicle to join a vehicle platoon depending on the

circumstances, and there is currently no solution available to support and enable such a decision to join a vehicle platoon.

Summary

It is an object of embodiments described herein to address at least some of the problems and issues outlined above. It is possible to achieve this object and others by using methods, a platoon controller and a vehicle controller as defined in the attached independent claims.

According to one aspect, a method is provided for supporting a decision whether a candidate vehicle should join a vehicle platoon with platoon vehicles or not. In this method, properties of the platoon vehicles are obtained and a platoon profile pp related to characteristics of the vehicle platoon is defined based on the obtained properties of the platoon vehicles. The platoon profile pp is then provided as a basis for said decision, e.g. by broadcasting or unicasting the platoon profile pp to the candidate vehicle. The above method may be performed in a platoon vehicle of the vehicle platoon or in a platoon server connected to a wireless network.

According to another aspect, a platoon controller is arranged to support a decision whether a candidate vehicle should join a vehicle platoon with platoon vehicles or not. The platoon controller is configured to obtain properties of the platoon vehicles, and to define a platoon profile pp related to characteristics of the vehicle platoon, based on the obtained properties of the platoon vehicies. The platoon controller is further configured to provide the platoon profile pp as a basis for said decision.

According to another aspect, a method is provided for deciding whether a candidate vehicle should join a vehicle platoon with platoon vehicles or not. In this method a platoon profile pp related to characteristics of the vehicle platoon is obtained, and a candidate vehicle profile pk is also defined based on properties of the candidate vehicle. Then, a suitability index is determined based on the candidate vehicle profile pk and the platoon profile pp, and it is decided whether the candidate vehicle should join the vehicle platoon or not based on the suitability index,

According to another aspect, a vehicle controller is arranged to decide whether a candidate vehicle should join a vehicle platoon with platoon vehicles or not. The vehicle controller is configured to obtain a platoon profile pp related to

characteristics of the vehicle platoon, and to define a candidate vehicle profile pk based on properties of the candidate vehicle. The vehicle controller is further configured to determine a suitability index based on the candidate vehicle profile pk and the platoon profile pp, and to decide whether the candidate vehicle should join the vehicle platoon or not based on the suitability index.

Advantages of the above methods and controllers may include that the candidate vehicle will join the platoon only if some benefits can be gained by joining, as indicated by the suitability index, such as saving of fuel or charge, more safe driving, better traffic flow, and so forth. Also, the process of deciding to join the platoon can be performed automatically without requiring any decision making from a human driver or other person. The solution may further allow for a personalized or individually configured strategy that could influence the joining decision in a desirable manner.

The above methods, platoon controller and vehicle controller may be configured and implemented according to different optional embodiments to accomplish further features and benefits, to be described below. A computer program storage product is also provided comprising instructions which, when executed on at least one processor, cause the at least one processor to carry out either of the methods described above.

Brief description of drawings

The solution will now be described in more detail by means of exemplary embodiments and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which;

Figs 1A and 1B are communication scenarios illustrating two examples of how the solution may be employed, according to some possible embodiments.

Fig. 2 is a flow chart illustrating a procedure for supporting a decision whether a candidate vehicle should join a vehicle platoon or not, according to further possible embodiments.

Fig. 3 is a flow chart illustrating a procedure for deciding whether a candidate vehicle should join a vehicle platoon or not, according to further possible embodiments.

Fig. 4 is a flow chart illustrating a more detailed procedure for deciding whether a candidate vehicle should join a vehicle platoon or not, according to further possible embodiments.

Fig. 5 is a signaling diagram illustrating an example of a procedure when the solution is used, according to further possible embodiments.

Fig. 6 is a block diagram illustrating a platoon controller in more detail, according to further possible embodiments.

Fig. 7 is a block diagram illustrating a vehicle controller in more detail, according to further possible embodiments.

Detailed description

Briefly described, a solution is provided which can be used to support and enable a decision whether it is suitable and/or helpful for a candidate vehicle to join a vehicle platoon or not. A platoon profile pp related to characteristics of the vehicle platoon, is defined based on current properties of the platoon vehicles. Also, a candidate vehicle profile pk is defined based on properties of the candidate vehicle. It is then basically checked whether the candidate vehicle profile pk matches the platoon profile pp in such a way that certain benefits can be gained if the candidate vehicle joins the vehicle platoon. Such benefits may include, without limitation, saving of fuel or charge, increased traffic security and more efficient traffic flow.

It can be checked whether it is a good idea for the candidate vehicle to join the platoon or not, as follows. A suitability index is determined based on the candidate vehicle profile pk and the platoon profile pp, and the decision whether the

candidate vehicle should join the vehicle platoon or not can be taken based on the suitability index. For example, it may be decided to join the platoon when the suitability index fulfils a threshold condition, e.g. when the suitability index is above a predefined threshold. If not, the decision would be to refrain from joining.

A possible way of determining the suitability index as a basis for the joining decision will be described in detail below, In brief, the suitability index can be determined as a weighted sum of a fuel or charge saving function, a longevity function and a velocity function. These functions are dependent on the candidate vehicle profile pk and the platoon profile pp, and some examples of how the functions may be configured will be described later below. The weight, or bias, for each function may be predefined according to some strategy for how much influence the respective function should have on the joining decision. For example, if it is of highest importance to save fuel or charge, the strategy would dictate that the weight for the fuel or charge saving function is higher than the weights for the other functions. In another example, if it is of highest importance to travel in the platoon as long as possible, the strategy would dictate that the weight for the longevity function is higher than the weights for the other functions, and so forth.

The solution will be described herein in terms of a procedure for supporting a decision whether a candidate vehicle should join a vehicle platoon or not, which includes defining the above-mentioned platoon profile pp and providing it as a basis for the joining decision. This supporting procedure may be performed in a piatoon vehicle of the vehicle platoon or in a platoon server connected to a wireless network for communication with the vehicles, In this disclosure, the term "platoon controller" is used to represent a functional entity that is operable to realize the above supporting procedure, either in the platoon vehicle or in the platoon server.

The solution will also be described in terms of a procedure for deciding whether a candidate vehicle should join a vehicle platoon or not. This deciding procedure includes defining the above-mentioned candidate vehicle profile p* based on properties of the candidate vehicle, determining the suitability index based on the candidate vehicle profile pk and the piatoon profile pp, and taking the joining decision based on the suitability index. The deciding procedure may be performed in the candidate vehicle itself or in the above-mentioned piatoon server. In this disclosure, the term 'Vehicle controller" is used to represent a functional entity that is operable to realize the above deciding procedure, either in the candidate vehicle or in the piatoon server.

Fig. 1 A illustrates one example of a communication scenario where the solution may be employed as follows. 100 denotes a vehicle platoon that is already in existence, i.e. it has been formed at some point previously and is basically operating as a platoon, which has been generally described above in the background section. The platooning mode involves wireless D2D communication 104 which is used for the coordinated driving of the platoon vehicles, it is assumed that all vehicles described herein have a wireless device or the equivalent which is configured to provide the necessary communication for platooning. The wireless device may be a separate communication entity such as a mobile phone or similar which is connected to the vehicle's driving functions, or it may be integrated in the vehicle, depending on the implementation. Further, 102 denotes a candidate vehicle for which a decision will be taken as to whether it should join the piatoon 100 or not.

In this scenario, the candidate vehicle 102 approaches the piatoon 100 from behind which enables D2D communication 106 with at least one piatoon vehicle, in this case platoon vehicle 100A. Alternatively, the candidate vehicle 102 may communicate with the platoon vehicle 100A over a network node 108 of a wireless network 1 10 as indicated by dashed arrows. Further, the candidate vehicle 102 may receive the above-described platoon profile pp from the platoon vehicle 100A and the joining decision can be taken in the candidate vehicle 102.

Fig. 1 B illustrates another example of a communication scenario involving vehicles as of the previous scenario of Fig. 1A, while also involving a platoon server 114 connected to the wireless network 110 for communication with at least the vehicles 102, 100A using the network node 108, as indicated by arrows 112. In this scenario, the candidate vehicle 102 may receive the platoon profile pp from the platoon server 114 and the joining decision may be taken in the candidate vehicle 102. Alternatively, the candidate vehicle 102 may receive a command or recommendation to join or not from the platoon server 114 which has taken the decision for the candidate vehicle 102. In this alternative, the platoon profile pp may have been defined and provided by the platoon vehicle 100A, or it may have been defined in the platoon server 114 on the basis of vehicle and platoon information received from one or more platoon vehicles, e.g. the platoon vehicle 100A which may be a leader vehicle or the like of the platoon.

An example of how the solution may be employed will now be described, with reference to the flow chart in Fig. 2, in terms of actions for supporting a decision whether a candidate vehicle should join a vehicle platoon with platoon vehicles or not. Reference will also be made, without limiting the described features and embodiments, to the example scenarios shown in Figs 1A and 1B. The procedure illustrated by Fig, 2 may thus be performed by a platoon controller which may be operable in a platoon vehicle 100A of the vehicle platoon or in a platoon server 114 connected to a wireless network 110, according to some example

embodiments.

A first action 200 illustrates that the platoon controller obtains properties of the platoon vehicles. In some example embodiments, the properties of the platoon vehicles may comprise dynamic vehicle properties which are basically dependent on the current "state" of the vehicles when driving in the platoon. Such dynamic vehicle properties may be related to at least one of: velocity, travel direction, destination, current location, platooning time, travel distance before refuelling or recharging is required, distance to adjacent front and back vehicles in the vehicle platoon, and speed of internet connection, It should be noted that a vehicle in this context may have an engine that is powered by fuel or by a battery. The above- mentioned speed of internet connection basicaiiy indicates what data rate can be achieved over the vehicle's current network connection which may vary depending on coverage and traffic in the network.

In some other example embodiments, the properties of the platoon vehicles may also comprise static vehicle properties which are basically dependent on the vehicle's construction. Such static vehicle properties may be related to at least one of. vehicle dimensions, a vehicle identification and Internet capabilities. The vehicle identification may indicate mode) and type of vehicle and performance thereof such as fuel or charge consumption and capabilities of speed and acceleration. The above-mentioned Internet capabilities may be related to what internet applications browser are installed in the vehicle's wireless device.

Sn a next action 202, the platoon controller defines a platoon profile pp related to characteristics of the vehicle platoon, based on the obtained properties of the platoon vehicles. In some further example embodiments, the platoon profile pp may be defined further based on environmental parameters related to at least one of temperature at the vehicle platoon and wind speed relative the vehicle platoon. The relative wind speed may influence how much can be gained in fuel or charge saving by joining the platoon, due to the aerodynamic pull that would be created by a vehicle in front of the candidate vehicle if joining the platoon. Actions 200 and 202 may be repeated, e.g. at regular intervals or whenever the properties of the platoon vehicles change, so that the platoon profiie pp is kept relevant and up-to- date. The platoon controller may also obtain properties of the platoon vehicles on a more or less continuous basis.

It was mentioned above that the platoon profile pp is related to characteristics of the vehicle platoon. More example embodiments include thai these characteristics of the vehicle platoon may comprise at least one of: length of the vehicle platoon, travel direction, current location, destination, temperature at the vehicle platoon, wind speed relative the vehicle platoon, and largest travel distance before refuelling or recharging is required. The latter mentioned largest travel distance thus refers to how long the platoon can travel before at least one of the vehicles therein needs to stop for some reason, e.g. when if runs out of power and needs to be refuelled or recharged.

In another example embodiment, the properties of the platoon vehicles may be obtained in action 200 as vehicle profiles received from the platoon vehicles, and in that case the platoon profile pp may be defined in action 202 as an aggregation of the received vehicle profiles. A final action 204 illustrates that the platoon controller provides the platoon profile pp as a basis for said decision which will be described below in terms of another procedure in a vehicle controller which may be implemented in the candidate vehicle itself or in a platoon server. In action 204, the platoon profile pp may be provided when requested by the vehicle controller, in other example embodiments, providing the platoon profile pp in action 204 may comprise broadcasting or unicasting the platoon profile pp to the candidate vehicle 102 using 02D

communication or communication over a wireless network 110.

There may be different ways of finding and identifying the vehicle 102 as being a potential candidate for deciding to join the vehicle platoon 100, that is a vehicle for which an investigation is motivated to enable a joining decision. One possible way is that the vehicle 102 announces itself as a candidate for joining the vehicle platoon 100. In another example embodiment, the candidate vehicle 102 may be selected by the platoon controller based on the platoon profile pp and properties of the candidate vehicle 102, which may include properties similar to at least some of the above-mentioned dynamic and static vehicle properties of the platoon vehicle that were obtained in action 200.

Another example of how the solution may be employed will now be described, with reference to the flow chart in Fig. 3, in terms of actions for deciding whether a candidate vehicle should join a vehicle platoon with platoon vehicles or not.

Reference will again be made, without limiting the described features and embodiments, to the example scenarios shown in Figs 1A and 1 B. The procedure illustrated by Fig. 3 may be performed by a vehicle controller which may be operable in the candidate vehicle 102 itself or in a platoon server 114 connected to a wireless network 1 10, according to some example embodiments.

A first action 300 illustrates that the vehicle controller obtains a platoon profile pp related to characteristics of the vehicle platoon 100. This platoon profile pp was thus provided by the platoon controller in action 204 of Fig. 2, as indicated by the dashed arrow between actions 204 and 300. In further example embodiments, the platoon profile pp may be obtained when broadcasted or unicasted by a platoon controller operating in a platoon vehicle 100A using D2D communication, or in a platoon server 114 using communication over a wireless network 110.

In another action 302, the vehicle controller defines a candidate vehicle profile pk based on properties of the candidate vehicle 102. As indicated above, the properties of the candidate vehicle 102 may more or less correspond to the above- mentioned properties of the platoon vehicles. Thus in some example

embodiments, the properties of the candidate vehicle 102 may comprise dynamic vehicle properties related to at least one of: velocity, travel direction, destination, current location, travel distance before refuelling or recharging, and speed of internet connection. In other example embodiments, the properties of the candidate vehicle 102 may comprise static vehicle properties related to at least one of: vehicle dimensions, a vehicle identification and internet capabilities. If the vehicle controller operates in the platoon server 114, the candidate vehicle 102 may send its properties to the platoon server 1 14 over the wireless network 110, e.g. when announcing itself as a candidate for the platoon.

In further example embodiments, the characteristics of the vehicle platoon may comprise at least one of: length of the vehicle platoon, travel direction, current location, destination, temperature at the vehicle platoon, wind speed relative the vehicle platoon, and largest travel distance before refuelling or recharging is required. In a next action 304, the vehicle controller determines a suitability index based on the candidate vehicle profile pk defined in action 302 and the platoon profile pp obtained in action 300. in further example embodiments, the suitability index may be determined as a weighted sum of the following functions A-C:

A) a fuel or charge saving function fs (pk, pp) which is related to the amount of fuel or battery charge that can be saved by joining the vehicle platoon.

B) a longevity function fl (pk, pp) which is related to the travelling distance towards a destination of the vehicle platoon (100) and of the candidate vehicle (102), respectively.

C) a velocity function fv (pk, pp) which is related to current speed of the vehicie platoon (100) and of the candidate vehicle (102), respectively.

In another example embodiment, the suitability index may be determined as:

Figure imgf000013_0001
where
Figure imgf000013_0002
fuelsaving is a weight of the fuel or charge saving function fs,

Figure imgf000013_0007
longevity is a weight of the longevity function fl, velocity is a weight of
Figure imgf000013_0006

the velocity function fv. As mentioned above, values of the weights thus denoted

Figure imgf000013_0003
fuelsaving, longevity and velocity may be selected according
Figure imgf000013_0004
Figure imgf000013_0005

to a strategy for the candidate vehicle, which strategy basically dictates how much influence the respective functions should have on the suitability index and ultimately on the joining decision.

A final action 308 illustrates that the platoon controller decides whether the candidate vehicie 102 should join the vehicie platoon 100 or not based on the suitability index. In an example embodiment, said deciding in action 306 may comprise deciding that the candidate vehicle 102 should join the vehicle platoon 100 if the suitabifity index fulfils a threshold condition, e.g. if the suitability index is above a predefined threshold.

The above functions A-C, also denoted the fuel or charge saving function fs, the longevity function fl, and the velocity function fv, have thus been defined as being dependent on both the candidate vehicle profile pk and the platoon profile pp. Some examples of how the functions A-C may be defined in more detail are as follows.

The functions fs, fl, and fv basically compare parameters from the candidate vehicle profile pK and the platoon profile pp to produce the suitability index for a corresponding strategy, in general, a greater value of the suitability index indicates a better suitability. The suitability index may be normalized between 0 and 1.

Figure imgf000014_0001

charge saving function;

Figure imgf000014_0002

As described above, the suitability index can be calculated by multiplying the functions with respective weights denoted

Figure imgf000014_0003
Figure imgf000014_0004

velocity which may be selected according to some strategy which may

Figure imgf000014_0005
basically indicate a goai of the candidate vehicle to join a platoon such as the vehicle platoon 100. This strategy may Include, without limitation:

- to save fuel,

- to travel as long as possible towards the destination of the platoon, referred to as longevity,

- to travel as close as possible to a desired speed, and

- to join the platoon in case the protocol stacks for accessing the Internet offered by the platoon are compatible with the protocol stacks used in the candidate vehicle, or any combination of the above.

A more detailed example of how the vehicle controller may operate when performing the procedure of Fig. 3 will now be described with reference to the flow chart in Fig. 4. In this example, the first action 400 of obtaining the platoon profile pp and the next action 402 of defining the candidate vehicle profile pk are performed in the manner described above for actions 300 and 302, respectively, which will not be repeated here.

In a further action 404, the vehicle controller obtains the above-described weights for the functions of the candidate vehicle profile pk and the platoon profile pp> namely fueisaving for the fuel or charge saving function fs(pK, pp),

Figure imgf000015_0001

Figure imgf000015_0003
longevity for the longevity function fl(pk, pp), and velocity for velocity
Figure imgf000015_0002

function fv( pK, pp). Then in a following action 406, the vehicle controller determines the suitability index as a weighted sum of the functions, that is according to the formula It is then checked, in an action 408, whether the determined suitability index fulfils a threshold condition, in this case whether the suitability index is above a predefined threshold or not. If so, it can be deduced that it is suitable for the candidate vehicle to join the vehicle platoon and the vehicle controller decides that it should join the platoon, in an action 410. lf the suitability index is not above the predefined threshold, the vehicle controller decides that it should reject, i.e. not join, the platoon, in an action 412. Yet another illustrative but non-limiting example of how the above solution may be realized when at least some of the above-described embodiments are used .will now be described with reference to the signalling diagram in Fig. 5 involving a platoon server 500, a candidate vehicle 502 and a platoon vehicle 504. Here it is assumed that the above-described platoon controller is implemented in the platoon vehicle 504 and that the above-described vehicle controller is implemented in the candidate vehicle 502. According to one alternative, the platoon server 500 is merely used for finding the candidate vehicle 502 as described below.

A first shown action 5:1 illustrates that the platoon vehicle 504 defines the platoon profile pp, basically corresponding to actions 200 and 202 in Fig. 2. The platoon vehicle 504 then sends the platoon profile pp to the candidate vehicle 502 in a next action 5:2, as a basis for the joining decision. The platoon vehicle 504 may be a leader vehicle of the platoon or any other vehicle therein that has been appointed to provide the platoon profile pp.

An alternative procedure is that the platoon vehicle 504 sends the platoon profile pp to the platoon server 500 instead, in an action 5:3A, and then finds, i.e. selects, one or more vehicle candidates by comparing their respective vehicle properties with the received platoon profile pp as shown in another action 5:3B. In this action, the platoon server 500 finds the candidate vehicle 502 and sends the platoon profile pp thereto in another action 5:3C.

Having received the platoon profile pp the candidate vehicle 502 calculates the suitability index in an action 5:4, basically corresponding to actions 302-304 and 402-406 in Figs 2 and 4. respectively. A next action 5:5 illustrates that the candidate vehicle 502 decides to join the platoon based on the suitability index, and a final action 5:6 illustrates that the candidate vehicle 502 joins the platoon, e.g. by means of suitable communication with one or more platoon vehicles.

Joining the platoon in action 5:6 may be performed according to any conventional procedures for platoon joining which are outside the scope of this disclosure.

A non-limiting example of how a platoon controller and a vehicle controller may be structured to bring about the above-described solution and embodiments thereof, will now be described with reference to the block diagrams in Fig. 6 and 7, respectively, in these figures, the platoon controller 600 and the vehicle controller 700 may be configured to operate according to any of the examples and embodiments of employing the solution as described above, where appropriate, and as follows. Each of the platoon controller 600 and the vehicle controller 700 is shown to comprise a respective processor 600P, 700P, a respective memory 600M, 700M and a communication circuit denoted "C" with suitable equipment for transmitting and receiving information and messages in the manner described herein.

The communication circuit C in each of the platoon controller 600 and the vehicle controller 700 thus comprises equipment configured for communication using a suitable protocol depending on the implementation. St was mentioned above that HTTP may be used in the communication. The solution is however not limited to any specific types of messages or protocols. Examples of how the communication may be performed were described above with reference to Figs 1A.B and 5.

The actions of Figs 2. 3 and 4 may be performed by means of functional units in the respective processors 600P, 700P in the platoon controller 600 and the vehicle controller 700. For example, the platoon controller 600 may comprise means configured or arranged to perform ai least some of the actions of the flow chart in Fig. 2 in the manner described above. Further, the vehicle controller 700 may comprise means configured or arranged to perform at least some of the actions of the flow charts in Figs 3 and 4 in the manner described above.

The piatoon controller 600 is arranged to support a decision whether a candidate vehicle 604 should join a vehicle platoon 602 with piatoon vehicles or not . The platoon controller 600 thus comprises the processor 600P and the memory 600M, said memory 600M comprising instructions executable by said processor 600P, whereby the platoon controller 600 is configured as follows.

The platoon controller 600 is configured to obtain properties of the piatoon vehicles. This obtaining operation may be performed by an obtaining unit 600A in the piatoon controller 600, e.g. in the manner described for action 200 above. The platoon controller 600 is also configured to define a platoon profile pp related to characteristics of the vehicle platoon, based on the obtained properties of the platoon vehicles. This defining operation may be performed by a defining unit 600B in the platoon controller 600. e.g. in the manner described for action 202 above.

The platoon controller 600 is further configured to provide the platoon profile pp as a basis for said decision. This providing operation may be performed by a providing unit 600C in the platoon controller 600, e.g. in the manner described for action 204 above.

The platoon controller 600 may be operable in one of the platoon vehicles of the vehicle platoon 602, e.g. in a leader vehicle 602A, or in a platoon server which is connected to a wireless network 606 for communication with the vehicles 602, 604, as shown in the figure.

The vehicle controller 700 is arranged to decide whether a candidate vehicle 704 should join a vehicle platoon 702 with platoon vehicles or not. The vehicle controller 700 thus comprises the processor 700P and the memory 700M, said memory 700M comprising instructions executable by said processor 700P whereby the vehicle controller 700 is operative as follows.

The vehicle controller 700 is configured to obtain a platoon profile pp related to characteristics of the vehicle platoon 702. This obtaining operation may be performed by an obtaining unit 700A in the vehicle controller 700, e.g. in the manner described for action 300 above. The vehicle controller 700 is further configured to define a candidate vehicle profile pk based on properties of the candidate vehicle 704. This determining operation may be performed by a defining unit 700B in the vehicle controller 700, e.g. in the manner described for action 302 above.

The vehicle controller 700 is also configured to determine a suitability index based on the candidate vehicle profile pk and the platoon profile pp . This determining operation may be performed by a determining unit 700C, e g in the manner described for action 304 above. The vehicle controller 700 is also configured to decide whether the candidate vehicle 704 should join the vehicle platoon 702 or not based on the suitability index. This deciding operation may be performed by a deciding unit 700D in the vehicle controller 700, e.g. in the manner described for action 306 above.

It should be noted that Figs 6 and 7 illustrate various functional units in the platoon controller 600 and the vehicle controller 700, respectively, and the skilled person is able to implement these functional units in practice using suitable software and hardware. Thus, the solution is generally not limited to the shown structures of the platoon controller 600 and the vehicle controller 700, and the functional units 600A-C and 700A-C therein may be configured to operate according to any of the features and embodiments described in this disclosure, where appropriate.

The functional units 600A-C and 700A-C described above may be implemented in the respective platoon controller 600 and vehicle controller 700 by means of a respective computer program comprising code means which, when run by the processor 600P, 700P causes the respective platoon controller 600 and the vehicle controller 700 to perform the above-described actions and procedures. Each processor 600P, 700P may comprise a single Central Processing Unit (CPU), or could comprise two or more processing units. For example, each processor 800P, 700P may include a general purpose microprocessor, an instruction set processor and/or related chips sets and/or a speciai purpose microprocessor such as an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), in other words, the mentioned functional units may be implemented in pure hardware. Each processor P may also comprise a storage for caching purposes.

Each computer program may be carried by a computer program storage product in each of the platoon controller 600 and the vehicle controller 700 in the form of a memory having a computer readable medium and being connectable to the respective processor 600P, 700P. The computer program storage product in each of the platoon controller 800 and the vehicle controller 700 may thus comprise a computer readable medium on which the respective computer program is stored e.g. in the form of computer program modules or the like. For example, the memory 800M, 700M in each node may be a flash memory, a Random-Access Memory (RAM), a Read-Only Memory (ROM) or an Electrically Erasable

Programmable ROM (EEPROM), and the program modules could in alternative embodiments be distributed on different computer program storage products in the form of memories within the respective platoon controller 800 and vehicle controller 700,

The solution described herein may thus be implemented in each of the platoon controller 600 and the vehicle controller 700 by a computer program comprising instructions which, when executed on the platoon controller 600 and the vehicle controller 700, cause the platoon controller 600 and the vehicle controller 700 to carry out the actions according to the above respective embodiments, where appropriate. The solution may also be implemented at each of the platoon controller 800 and the vehicle controller 700 in a computer program storage product comprising instructions which, when executed on the platoon controller 800 and the vehicle controller 700, cause the platoon controller 600 and the vehicle controller 700 to carry out the actions according to the above respective embodiments, where appropriate. When using the solution and possibly any of the above-described embodiments, several advantages can be achieved, In particular, the candidate vehicle will join the platoon only if at least some benefits can be gained according to the suitability index, e.g. including any of; saving of fuel or charge, more safe driving, better traffic flow, an opportunity for the driver to leave the driving to the automatic vehicle control associated with platooning. Also, the entire process of joining the platoon or not is performed automatically without requiring any difficult decision making from the driver or other person. A multitude of different factors such as dynamic and static vehicle properties and environmental parameters can also be taken into consideration in a manner that would be far too complex or even impossible for a human person to retrieve and handle manually. The solution further allows for a personalized or individually configured strategy to be used for influencing the joining decision in a desirable manner, as described above.

While the solution has been described with reference to specific exemplifying embodiments, the description is generally only intended to illustrate the inventive concept and should not be taken as limiting the scope of the solution. For example, the terms "vehicle platoon", ''platoon profile", "candidate vehicle", "platoon controller", "vehicle controller", "platoon server", "dynamic vehicle properties", "static vehicle properties", "environmental parameters", "leader vehicle", "suitability index", "fuel or charge saving function", "longevity function", "velocity function", and "threshold condition" have been used throughout this disclosure, although any other corresponding entities, functions, and/or parameters could also be used having the features and characteristics described here. The solution is defined by the appended claims.

Claims

1. A method for supporting a decision whether a candidate vehicle (102) should join a vehicle platoon (100) with platoon vehicles or not, the method comprising:
- obtaining (200) properties of the platoon vehicles,
- defining (202) a platoon profile pp related to characteristics of the vehicle platoon, based on the obtained properties of the platoon vehicles, and
- providing (204) the platoon profile pp as a basis for said decision.
2. A method according to claim 1 , wherein the properties of the platoon vehicles comprise dynamic vehicle properties related to at feast one of: velocity, travel direction, destination, current location, platooning time, travel distance before refuelling or recharging is required, distance to adjacent front and back vehicles in the vehicle platoon, and speed of Internet connection.
3. A method according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the properties of the platoon vehicles comprise static vehicle properties related to at least one of: vehicle dimensions, a vehicle identification and internet capabilities.
4. A method according to any of claims 1-3, wherein the platoon profile pp is defined further based on environmental parameters related to at least one of:
temperature at the vehicle platoon and wind speed relative the vehicle platoon.
5. A method according to any of claims 1-4, wherein the characteristics of the vehicle platoon comprise at least one of: length of the vehicle platoon, travel direction, current location, destination, temperature at the vehicle platoon, wind speed relative the vehicle platoon, and largest travel distance before refuelling or recharging is required.
8. A method according to any of claims 1 -5. wherein the properties of the platoon vehicles are obtained as vehicle profiles received from the platoon vehicles, and wherein the platoon profile pp is defined as an aggregation of the received vehicle profiles.
7. A method according to any of claims 1-6, wherein the candidate vehicle (102) is selected based on the platoon profile pp and properties of the candidate vehicle.
8. A method according to any of claims 1-7, wherein providing the platoon profile pp comprises broadcasting or unicasting the platoon profile pp to the candidate vehicle (102) using Device-to-Device communication or communication over a wireless network (110).
9. A method according to any of claims 1-8, wherein the method is performed in a platoon vehicle (100A) of the vehicle platoon or in a platoon server (114) connected to a wireless network (110).
10. A platoon controller (600) arranged to support a decision whether a candidate vehicle (804) should join a vehicle platoon (602) with platoon vehicles or not, wherein the platoon controller (600) is configured to:
- obtain (SOOA) properties of the platoon vehicles,
- define (60QB) a platoon profile pp related to characteristics of the vehicle platoon (602), based on the obtained properties of the platoon vehicles, and
- provide (600C) the platoon profile pp as a basis for said decision.
11. A platoon controller (600) according to claim 10, wherein the properties of the platoon vehicles comprise dynamic vehicle properties related to at least one of: velocity, travel direction, destination, current location, platooning time, travel distance before refuelling or recharging is required, distance to adjacent front and back vehicles in the vehicle platoon, and speed of Internet connection.
12. A platoon controller (600) according to claim 10 or 11 , wherein the properties of the platoon vehicles comprise static vehicle properties related to at least one of: vehicle dimensions, a vehicle identification and Internet capabilities.
13. A piatoon controller (600) according to any of claims 10-12, wherein the platoon controller (600) is configured to define the platoon profile pp further based on environmental parameters related to at least one of: temperature at the vehicle platoon and wind speed relative the vehicle piatoon.
14. A platoon controller (600) according to any of claims 10-13, wherein the characteristics of the vehicle platoon (602) comprise at least one of: length of the vehicle platoon, travel direction, current location, destination, temperature at the vehicle platoon, wind speed relative the vehicle platoon, and largest travel distance before refuelling or recharging is required.
15. A platoon controller (800) according to any of claims 10-14, wherein the platoon controller (600) is configured to obtain the properties of the platoon vehicles as vehicle profiles received from the piatoon vehicles, and to define the platoon profile pp as an aggregation of the received vehicle profiles,
18. A platoon controller (600) according to any of claims 10-15, wherein the platoon controller (800) is configured to select the candidate vehicle (604) based on the platoon profile pp and properties of the candidate vehicle (804).
17. A platoon controller (600) according to any of claims 10-16, wherein the piatoon controller (600) is configured to provide the platoon profile pp by broadcasting or unicasfing the platoon profile pp to the candidate vehicle (604) using Device-to-Device communication or communication over a wireless network (606).
18. A platoon controller (600) according to any of claims 10-17, wherein the piatoon controller (600) is operable in a platoon vehicle (602A) of the vehicle piatoon or in a platoon server connected to a wireless network (606).
19. A method for deciding whether a candidate vehicle (102) should join a vehicle platoon (100) with piatoon vehicles or not, the method comprising:
- obtaining (300) a platoon profile pp related to characteristics of the vehicle platoon (100), - defining (302) a candidate vehicle profile pk based on properties of the candidate vehicle (102),
- determining (304) a suitability index based on the candidate vehicle profile pK and the platoon profile pp, and
- deciding (306) whether the candidate vehicle (102) should join the vehicle platoon (100) or not based on the suitability index.
20. A method according to claim 19, wherein the properties of the candidate vehicle (102) comprise dynamic vehicle properties related to at least one of:
velocity, travel direction, destination, current location, travel distance before refuelling or recharging, and speed of internet connection.
21. A method according to claim 19 or 20, wherein the properties of the candidate vehicle (102) comprise static vehicle properties related to at least one of: vehicle dimensions, a vehicle identification and Internet capabilities.
22. A method according to any of claims 19-21 , wherein the characteristics of the vehicle platoon comprise at least one of: length of the vehicle platoon, travel direction, current location, destination, temperature at the vehicle platoon, wind speed relative the vehicle platoon, and largest travel distance before refuelling or recharging is required.
23. A method according to any of claims 19-22, wherein the suitability index is determined as a weighted sum of:
- a fuel or charge saving function fs (pk, pp) related to the amount of fuel or battery charge that can be saved by joining the vehicle platoon,
- a longevity function fl (pk, pp) related to the travelling distance towards a destination of the vehicle platoon (100) and of the candidate vehicle (102), respectively, and
- a velocity function fv (pk> pp) related to current speed of the vehicle platoon (100) and of the candidate vehicle (102), respectively
24. A method according to claim 23, wherein the suitability index is determined as:
Figure imgf000026_0001
where fuelsaving is a weight of the fuel saving function fs longevity
Figure imgf000026_0002
Figure imgf000026_0003
is a weight of the longevity function fl, and velocity is a weight of the velocity
Figure imgf000026_0004
function fv,
25. A method according to any of claims 19-24, wherein said deciding comprises deciding that the candidate vehicle (102) should join the vehicle platoon (100) if the suitability index fulfils a threshold condition (408).
26. A method according to any of claims 19-25, wherein the platoon profile pp is obtained when broadcasted or unicasted by a platoon controller operating in a platoon vehicle (100 A) using Device-to-Device communication or in a platoon server (114) using communication over a wireless network (110).
27. A method according to any of claims 19-28, wherein the method is performed in the candidate vehicle (102) or in a platoon server (114) connected to a wireless network (110).
28. A vehicle controller (700) arranged to decide whether a candidate vehicle (704) should join a vehicle platoon (702) with platoon vehicles or not, wherein the vehicle controller (700) is configured to:
- obtain (700A) a platoon profile pp related to characteristics of the vehicle platoon (702),
- define (700B) a candidate vehicle profile pk based on properties of the candidate vehicle (704), - determine (700B) a suitability index based on the candidate vehicle profilepk and the platoon profile pp. and
- decide (700C) whether the candidate vehicle (704) should join the vehicle platoon (702) or not based on the suitability index.
29. A vehicle controller (700) according to claim 28, wherein the properties of the candidate vehicle (704) comprise dynamic vehicle properties related to at least one of: velocity, travel direction, destination, current location, travel distance before refuelling or recharging, and speed of internet connection.
30. A vehicle controller (700) according to claim 28 or 29, wherein the properties of the candidate vehicle (704) comprise static vehicle properties related to at least one of: vehicle dimensions, a vehicle identification and Internet capabilities.
31. A vehicle controller (700) according to any of claims 28-30, wherein the characteristics of the vehicle platoon (702) comprise at least one of: length of the vehicle platoon, travel direction, current location, destination, temperature at the vehicle platoon, wind speed relative the vehicle platoon, and largest travel distance before refuelling or recharging is required.
32. A vehicle controller (700) according to any of claims 28-31 , wherein the vehicle controller (700) is configured to determine the suitability index as a weighted sum of:
- a fuel or charge saving function fs (pk, pp) related to the amount of fuel or battery- charge that can be saved by joining the vehicle platoon,
- a longevity function fl (pk, pp) related to the travelling distance towards a destination of the vehicle platoon (100) and of the candidate vehicle (102), respectively, and
- a velocity function fv (pk, pp) related to current speed of the vehicle platoon (100) and of the candidate vehicle (102), respectively.
33. A vehicle controller (700) according to claim 32, wherein the vehicle controller (700) is configured to determine the suitability index as:
Figure imgf000028_0001
where fuelsaving is a weight of the fuel saving function fs, blBS longevity is a
Figure imgf000028_0002
weight of the longevity function fl, and velocity is a weight of the velocity
Figure imgf000028_0003
function fv.
34. A vehicle controller (700) according to any of claims 28-33, wherein the vehicle controller (700) is configured to decide that the candidate vehicle (102) should join the vehicle platoon (100) if the suitability index fulfils a threshold condition (408).
35. A vehicle controller (700) according to any of claims 28-34, wherein the vehicle controller (700) is configured to obtain the platoon profile pp when broadcasted or uriicasted by a platoon controller operating in a piaioon vehicle (702A) using Device-to-Device communication or in a platoon server using communication over a wireless network.
36. A vehicle controller (700) according to any of claims 28-35. wherein the vehicle controller (700) is operable in the candidate vehicle (704) or in a platoon server connected to a wireless network.
37. A computer program storage product comprising instructions which, when executed on at least one processor, cause the at least one processor to carry out the method according to any one of claims 1-9 or any one of claims 19- 27.
PCT/SE2016/050443 2016-05-17 2016-05-17 Methods, platoon controller and vehicle controller, for enabling a decision to join a vehicle platoon WO2017200433A1 (en)

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