In progress Automated Driving in Freight Transport: Truck Platooning



A truck platoon is a set of virtually linked trucks that drive closely behind one another at a short headway using automated driving technology. Benefits of truck platooning include reduced operational costs (fuel and labour), decreased emissions, more efficient utilization of road capacity, and a possible reduction in the labour cost. In this research, we aim to evaluate the benefits of platooning from the planning and behavioural perspectives. To maximize the benefits of platooning, efficient planning and decision methods are required. We position platoon planning with respect to multiple well known streams of literature. Further, we aim to develop optimization models to plan platoons for the setting where drivers in the following trucks are allowed to rest. We envision the extension of these methods to study the benefits of designing the road network to facilitate platooning. In the final part, we will adopt a behavioural perspective and study driver acceptance towards platooning technology. Given that user acceptance plays a major role in the success of any technology, this doctoral research will investigate the factors that affect driver behaviour toward platooning technology.


Transportation, Platoon, Optimization, Automated driving, Behaviour

Time frame

2016 - 2020


Automated driving has successfully been deployed in closed environments in various logistics and freight transportation settings such as port terminals (Kim et al. (2004)) , and warehouses and factories (Roodbergen en Vis, 2009). Truck platooning can be seen as a first step towards automated freight transportation in an open, uncontrolled environment. A truck platoon is essentially a group of trucks driving very close together (TNO, 2015). A set of new technologies, collectively referred to as cooperative adaptive cruise control (CACC), enable very short distances between trucks. Platooning benefits include more efficient use of road capacity and less fuel consumption, and possibly more efficient use of driver capacity. All of the major truck manufacturers have developed platooning technologies, and several field tests are currently taking place in the Netherlands (DAF/TNO and Scania), Europe (Volvo) and the US (Peloton-tech, Daimler Trucks).


Truck platoons can be scheduled in advance or formed dynamically en route, with or without central coordination. Moreover, they can be established within the fleet of one organization (carrier, freight forwarder or logistics service provider) or between trucks of different organizations. Inter-organizational platooning could be facilitated by a platooning service provider that identifies the most beneficial platoons in real-time and takes care of the administration and coordination (TNO, 2015). Here, an important issue is how to allocate the benefits of platooning between the different platooning partners. Note that the truck manufacturers may play a more prominent role in the market of freight mobility either as platoon service providers or as suppliers of freight mobility.


To establish a platoon, the departure times, travel speeds and the routes of the trucks in the platoon must be synchronized. It may, for instance, be necessary for a truck to make a (small) detour in order to join a platoon. Even when considering platoons of at most two trucks, this give rise to complex planning problems. Longer trips, for instance, may allow the formation of different platoons at different stages of the trip. To fully reap the benefits of truck platooning, sophisticated decision support tools are required. 

Supervisory Team

Caspar Chorus
Caspar Chorus
  • Promotor
Rob Zuidwijk
Endowed Professor of Ports in Global Networks
  • Promotor