Spring–Mass–Damper-Based Platooning Logic for Automated Vehicles

Ardeshir Mirbakhsh, Joyoung Lee, Dejan Besenski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This paper applies a classical physics-based model to control platooning autonomous vehicles (AVs) in a commercial traffic simulation software. In the spring–mass–damper (SMD) model, each vehicle is assumed as a mass coupled with its preceding vehicle with a spring and a damper: the spring constant and damper coefficient control spacing and speed adoption between vehicles. Limitations on the platooning-oriented communication range and number of vehicles in each platoon are applied to the model to reflect real-world circumstances and avoid overlengthened platoons. The SMD model controls both intra-platoon and inter-platoon interactions. Initial evaluation of the model reveals that it does not cause a negative spacing error between AVs in a harsh deceleration scenario, guaranteeing safety. Besides that, the SMD model produces a smaller positive average spacing error than the VISSIM built-in platooning module, which prevents maximum throughput drop. The simulation result for a regular highway section reveals that the proposed platooning algorithm increases the maximum throughput by 10%, 29%, and 63% under 10%, 50%, and full market penetration rate (MPR) of AVs, respectively, with a 0.5 s response time. A merging section with different volume combinations on the main section and merging section and different MPRs of AVs is also modeled to test inter-platoon spacing policy effectiveness in accommodating merging vehicles. Travel time reductions of 20% and 4% are gained under a low MPR of AVs on the main lane and merging lane, respectively. Meanwhile, a more noticeable travel time reduction is observed in both main lane and merging lanes and under all volume combinations in higher AV MPRs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1264-1274
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • automated/autonomous/connected vehicles
  • car-following
  • connected vehicles
  • microscopic traffic simulation
  • operations
  • platooning
  • traffic simulation
  • vehicle-highway automation


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