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posted on 05.05.2021, 13:19 by Sourav Pramanik

Alternate power sources in automotive class-8 trucking industry is a major focus of research in recent days. Green house gasses, oxides of Nitrogen(NOx), Oxides of Sulphur(SOx), hydrocarbons and particulate matter are major concerns contributing to the shift in alternate fuel strategies. Another direct relation to move to an alternate power strategy is the reduction in net fuel consumption which in turn implicitly improves the emission components.

A holistic approach is needed while designing a modern class-8 vehicle. A variety of system architecture, control algorithms, diagnostic levers are needed to be manipulated to achieve the best of blends amongst Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), Drivability, Fuel

Economy, Emissions Compliant, Hauling Capacity, etc. The control and system levers are not mutually exclusive and there is a strong correlation amongst all these control and system components. In order to achieve a consensus amongst all these levers to achieve a common objective, is a challenging and complex problem to solve. It is often required to shift the algorithm strategy to predictive information based rather than reactive logic. Predictively modulating and manipulating control logic can help with better fuel efficient solution along with emissions improvement. A further addition to the above challenge is when we add a fleet of vehicle to the problem. So, the problem now is to optimize a control action for a fleet

of vehicles and design/select the correct component size. A lot of research has been done and is still underway to use a 48V hybrid system with a small battery using a simple charge sustaining SOC control strategy. This will make the system light enough not to compromise on the freight carrying capacity as well as give some extra boost during the high torque requirement sections in the route for a better fuel and emissions efficient solution. In this work a P2 type 48V hybrid system is used which is side mounted to the transmission via a gear system. The selection of the system and components enables the usage of different control strategies such as neutral coasting and Engine off coasting. This architecture with a traditional 12-15L Internal combustion engine along with a mild 48V hybrid system provides the most viable selection for a long haul class-8 application and is used in this work. It is also possible to identify other component sizes along with architectures for new configurations. The framework in this research work can help develop the study for different component sizing. While this research work is focused towards building a framework for achieving predictive control in a 3 truck platooning system using multi-agent based control, the other supporting work done also helps understand the optimal behavior of the interacting multiple controls when the corridor information such as road grade and route speed limit are known a-priori, in a single vehicle. The build up of this work analyzes an offline simulation of a 4 control optimal solution for a single hybrid truck and then extend the optimal controls to a 3 truck platoon. In the single truck, this research will help identify the interacting zones in the route where the various control actions will provide the best cost benefits which is fuel economy. These benefits are associated as a function of exogenous look ahead information such as grade and speed limit. Further it is also possible to identify the optimal behavior and the look ahead horizon required for achieving that. In other words the optimal behavior and benefits associated with the global solution can be accomplished by implementing rule based control system with a look ahead horizon of 2-5 km. If this would not have been the case then it is almost impossible to design a predictive controller based on the entire route information which can stretch up to hundreds of kilometers. Optimal algorithms of such prediction horizon are not feasible to be implemented in real time controllers. This research work will also help understand the interaction between different active control actions such as predictive speed modulation, gear shift, coasting and power split with passive control levers such as slow down due to hybrid regeneration, hybrid boost during coasting, etc. This will help in architecting a system involving component specifications, active optimal control, look ahead information, hybrid system strength, etc, working in close interaction with each other. Though we analyze these predictive behavior for a single vehicle as a supporting work the prime objective is to include these predictive levers in a platooning system using an agent based method. This multi-agent based technique will help analyze the behavior of multiple trucks in a platoon in terms of fuel efficient safe operation. The focus of this research work is to not directly come up with a controller or strategy but rather to understand the optimality of this control levers for a multi-vehicle platoon system given a look ahead information is available. The research shows that predictive information will help in gaining fuel economy for a platoon of class-8 mild hybrid trucks. It also highlights the challenges in doing so and what needs to be traded off in order to achieve the net fuel benefit.


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering

Campus location


Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Sohel Anwar

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Gregory M Shaver

Additional Committee Member 2

George Chiu

Additional Committee Member 3

Lingxi Li