In-Vehicle Validation of Heavy-Duty Vehicle Fuel Savings via a Hierarchical Predictive Online Controller

Evan Pelletier, Wushuang Bai, Miguel Alvarez Tiburcio, John Borek, Stephen Boyle, Christian Earnhardt, Liming Gao, Stephen Geyer, Christopher Graham, Ben Groelke, Mark Magee, Kyle Palmeter, Manuel Rodriguez, Chu Xu, Hosam Fathy, Mohammad Naghnaeian, Stephanie Stockar, Christopher Vermillion, Sean Brennan

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper presents the evolution of a series of connected, automated vehicle technologies from simulation to in-vehicle validation for the purposes of minimizing the fuel usage of a class-8 heavy duty truck. The results reveal that an online, hierarchical model-predictive control scheme, implemented via the use of extended horizon driver advisories for velocity and gear, achieves fuel savings comparable to predictions from software-in-the-loop (SiL) simulations and engine-in-the-loop (EiL) studies that operated with a greater degree of powertrain and chassis automation. The work of this paper builds on prior work that presented in detail this predictive control scheme that successively optimizes vehicle routing, arrival and departure at signalized intersections, speed trajectory planning, platooning, predictive gear shifting, and engine demand torque shaping. This paper begins by outlining the controller development progression from a previously published engine-in-the-loop study to the in-vehicle driver-in-the-loop testing highlighted in this work. The purpose of this field testing is to quantify the level of agreement between field data and prior results, particularly noting the influence of noise, disturbances and unmodeled dynamics. Also detailed are the steps to effectively implement the predictive horizons in experimentation with human rather than automated driver inputs by replacing the conventional speedometer with an augmented driver display. The driver display seeks to maintain driver awareness and route preview simultaneously. Additional features of the instrumented truck testing protocol include detailed route maps on speed limits, intersections, traffic and road grade; highly accurate fuel flowrate measurements calibrated via gravimetric methods; and closed-loop control between the predictive controller, driver, and vehicle controller area network (CAN). These combined capabilities allow for model validation, investigation of the effects of human-in-the-loop on controller performance, and identification of unmodeled dynamics and disturbances. The results show that the driver advisory implementation matches fuel consumption predictions from software-in-the-loop simulations and engine-in-the-loop studies to within 2-9%. Following the study of in-vehicle performance and variability, these results also validate, using real road tests, the up to 21% fuel savings achieved by using the hierarchical control scheme with a combination of multiple chassis and powertrain optimization technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSAE Technical Papers
Issue number2021
StatePublished - Apr 6 2021
EventSAE 2021 WCX Digital Summit - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Apr 13 2021Apr 15 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Pollution
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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