Effects of communication delay on string stability in vehicle platoons

X. Liu, A. Goldsmith, S. S. Mahal, J. K. Hedrick

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

255 Scopus citations


The throughput of vehicles on highways can be greatly increased by forming vehicle platoons. The control how that maintains stable operation of a platoon is dependent on the lead and preceding vehicle's position, velocity and acceleration profiles. These profiles guarantee string stability of a platoon and are transmitted via wireless communication networks. Communication networks generally introduce delays and drop packets. However, these communication faults are not typically taken into account in controller designs. In this paper, we examine the robustness of current longitudinal controller designs to communication delays. The results show that string stability is seriously compromised by communication delays introduced by the network when the controllers are triggered by the receipt of either the lead vehicle information or the preceding vehicle information. We find that when all the vehicles are synchronized to update their controllers at the same time, string stability can be maintained if the delay in preceding vehicle information is small. An upper bound on the preceding vehicle information delay is derived through a simple partial fraction expansion approach. We also point out a potential problem due to the clock jitters associated with the synchronization among vehicles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes
Event2001 IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Proceedings - Oakland, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 25 2001Aug 29 2001


Conference2001 IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Proceedings
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOakland, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


  • Automated Highway System (AHS)
  • Communication delay
  • Networked control
  • String stability


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