Journal of the Indian Institute of Science

, Volume 99, Issue 4, pp 567–587 | Cite as

A Review of Automatic Vehicle Following Systems

  • Vamsi K. Vegamoor
  • Swaroop DarbhaEmail author
  • Kumbakonam R. Rajagopal
Review Article


There has been considerable interest recently in the development of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). Automatic vehicle following capability is central for CAVs; in this article, we provide a review of the critical issues in the longitudinal control design for automatic vehicle following systems (AVFS) employed by CAVs. This expository review differs from others in providing a review of underlying methodologies for design of AVFS and the impact of AVFS on traffic mobility and safety.


ACC CACC String stability Traffic modeling Traffic safety 



This work was partially supported by the United States Department of Transportation through Grant number 693JJ31945042 and the Mays Innovation Research Center at Texas A&M University.


  1. 1.
    Brookings Institution (2019) Autonomous cars: Science, technology and policy., July 2019
  2. 2.
    NHTSA-USDOT (2016) Automated driving systems: a vision for safety.
  3. 3.
    Society of Automotive Engineers (2016) J3016: international taxonomy and definitions for terms related to driving automation systems for on-road motor vehicles. Technical report, SAE, Warrendale (2016)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lioris J, Pedarsani R, Tascikaraoglu FY (2017) Platoons of connected vehicles can double throughput in urban roads. Transp Res Part C Emerg Technol 77:292–305Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Askari A, Farias DA, Kurzhansky AA, Varaiya P (2017) Effect of adaptive and cooperative adaptive cruise control on throughput of signalized arterials. In: Proceeding of 2017 American Control ConferenceGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hedrick JK, McMahon DH, Swaroop D (1993) Vehicle modeling and control for automated highway systems. Technical Report UCB-ITS-PRR-93-24, California PATHGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kotwicki AJ (1982) Dynamic models for torque converter equipped vehicles. Technical Report 820393, SAEGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Fagerström J (2016) Longitudinal control of a heavy-duty vehicle. Master’s thesis, KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Yanakiev D, Kannellakopoulos I (1996) Speed tracking and vehicle follower control design for heavy-duty vehicles. Veh Syst Dyn 25(4):251–276Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kao M, Moskwa JJ (1995) Turbocharged diesel engine modeling for nonlinear engine control and state estimation. J Dyn Syst Meas Control 117(1):20–30 03Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Cho D, Hedrick JK (1989) Automotive Powertrain modeling for control. J Dyn Syst Meas Control 111(4):568–576 12Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Subramanian SC, Darbha S, Rajagopal KR (2004) Modeling the pneumatic subsystem of an S-cam air brake system. J Dyn Syst Meas Control 126(1):36–46 04Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Christian Gerdes J, Karl Hedrick J (1999) Brake system modeling for simulation and control. J Dyn Syst Meas Control 121(3):496–503 09Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ploeg J, Scheepers BTM, van Nunen E, van de Wouw N, Nijmeijer H (2011) Design and experimental evaluation of cooperative adaptive cruise control. In: 2011 14th International IEEE conference on intelligent transportation systems (ITSC), pp 260–265 (2011)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Sheikholeslam S, Desoer CA (1990) Longitudinal control of a platoon of vehicles. In: 1990 American control conference, pp 291–296 (1990)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bender JG, Fenton RE (1969) A study of automatic car following. IEEE Trans Veh Technol 18(3):134–140Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Takasaki GM, Fenton RE (1976) On vehicle longitudinal dynamics—identification and control. In: 26th IEEE vehicular technology conference, vol 26, pp 16–20Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Swaroop DVAHG (1994) String stability of interconnected systems: an application to platooning in automated highway systems. PhD thesis, University of California, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hedrick JK, Swaroop D (1994) Dynamic coupling in vehicles under automatic control. Veh Syst Dyn 23(sup1):209–220Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Swaroop D, Hedrick JK (1996) String stability of interconnected systems. IEEE Trans Autom Control 41(3):349–357Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gazis DC, Herman R, Rothery RW (1961) Nonlinear follow-the-leader models of traffic flow. Oper Res 9(4):545–567Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Chandler RE, Herman R, Montroll EW (1958) Traffic dynamics: studies in car following. Oper Res 6(2):165–184Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ge JI, Orosz G (2014) Dynamics of connected vehicle systems with delayed acceleration feedback. Transp Res Part C Emerg Technol 46:46–64Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Swaroop D, Hedrick JK, Choi SB (2001) Direct adaptive longitudinal control of vehicle platoons. IEEE Trans Veh Technol 50(1):150–161Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Darbha S, Pagilla PR (2010) Limitations of employing undirected information flow graphs for the maintenance of rigid formations for heterogeneous vehicles. Int J Eng Sci 48(11):1164–1178Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Chu K (1974) Decentralized control of high-speed vehicular strings. Transp Sci 8(4):361–384Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Ploeg J, van de Wouw N, Nijmeijer H (2014) Lp string stability of cascaded systems: application to vehicle platooning. IEEE Trans Control Syst Technol 22(2):786–793Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Besselink B, Knorn S (2018) Scalable input-to-state stability for performance analysis of large-scale networks. IEEE Control Syst Lett 2(3):507–512Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Seiler P, Pant A, Hedrick K (2004) Disturbance propagation in vehicle strings. IEEE Trans Autom Control 49(10):1835–1842Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Yadlapalli SK, Darbha S, Rajagopal KR (2006) Information flow and its relation to stability of the motion of vehicles in a rigid formation. IEEE Trans Autom Control 51(8):1315–1319Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Yadlapalli Sai Krishna, Darbha S, Rajagopal KR (2005) Information flow and its relation to the stability of the motion of vehicles in a rigid formation. In: Proceedings of the 2005, American Control Conference, vol 3, pp 1853–1858Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Fenton RE, Mayhan RJ (1991) Automated highway studies at the ohio state university—an overview. IEEE Trans Veh Technol 40(1):100–113Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Peppard L (1974) String stability of relative-motion PID vehicle control systems. IEEE Trans Autom Control 19(5):579–581Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Garrard WL, Caudill RJ, Kornhauser AL, MacKinnon D, Brown SJ (1978) State-of-the-art of longitudinal control of automated guideway transit vehicles. J Adv Transp 12(2):35–67 1Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Ioannou PA, Chien CC (1993) Autonomous intelligent cruise control. IEEE Trans Veh Technol 42(4):657–672Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Desoer CA, Vidyasagar M (1975) Feedback systems: input–output properties. Classics in Applied Mathematics. Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Boyd S, Doyle J (1987) Comparison of peak and rms gains for discrete-time systems. Syst Control Lett 9(1):1–6Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Darbha S (2002) A note about the stability of a string of LTI systems. J Dyn Syst Meas Control 124(3):472–475 07Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Vegamoor V, Darbha S (2019) Time headway reduction in CACC platoons with imperfect communication. IEEE Transactions on ITS (submitted) Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Corless M, Zhu G, Skelton R (1989) Improved robustness bounds using covariance matrices. In: Proceedings of the 28th IEEE conference on decision and control, vol 3, pp 2667–2672Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Darbha S, Hedrick JK (1999) Constant spacing strategies for platooning in automated highway systems. ASME J Dyn Syst Meas Control 121:462–470Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Fax JA, Murray RM (2004) Information flow and cooperative control of vehicle formations. IEEE Trans Autom Control 49(9):1465–1476Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Melzer SM, Kuo BC (1971) Optimal regulation of systems described by a countably infinite number of objects. Automatica 7(3):359–366Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Sebek M, Hurak Z (2011) 2-D polynomial approach to control of leader following vehicular platoons. IFAC Proceedings Volumes, 18th IFAC World Congress 44(1):6017–6022Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Firooznia A, Ploeg J, van de Wouw N, Zwart H (2017) Co-design of controller and communication topology for vehicular platooning. IEEE Trans Intell Transp Syst 18(10):2728–2739Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Kamen E (1985) Multidimensional systems theory: progress, directions, and open problems in multidimensional systems, edited by N.K. Bose with contributions by J.P. Guiver [and others], chapter 3. Mathematics and its applications. D. ReidelGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Lakshmikantham V, Leela S, Martynyuk AA (2015) Inequalities. Springer International Publishing, pp 1–66 ChamGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Gazis DC, Herman R, Potts RB (1959) Car-following theory of steady-state traffic flow. Oper Res 7(4):499–505Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Greenberg H (1959) An analysis of traffic flow. Oper Res 7(1):79–85Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Darbha S, Rajagopal KR (1999) Intelligent cruise control systems and traffic flow stability. Transp Res Part C Emerg Technol 7(6):329–352Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Swaroop D, Huandra R (1998) Intelligent cruise control system design based on a traffic flow specification. Veh Syst Dyn 30(5):319–344Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Santhanakrishnan K, Rajamani R (2000) On spacing policies for highway vehicle automation. Proc Am Control Conf 3:1509–1513 12Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Zhou J, Peng H (2005) Range policy of adaptive cruise control vehicles for improved flow stability and string stability. IEEE Trans Intell Transp Syst 6(2):229–237Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Caudill RJ, Garrard WL (1977) Vehicle-follower longitudinal control for automated transit vehicles. J Dyn Syst Meas Control 99(4):241–248 12Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Khatir ME, Davison EJ (2004) Decentralized control of a large platoon of vehicles using non-identical controllers. In: Proceedings of the 2004 American control conference, vol 3, pp 2769–2776Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Swaroop D, Hedrick JK, Chien CC, Ioannou P (1994) A comparision of spacing and headway control laws for automatically controlled vehicles. Veh Syst Dyn 23(1):597–625Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Konduri S, Pagilla PR, Darbha S (2017) Vehicle platooning with multiple vehicle look-ahead information. IFAC-Papers OnLine, 20th IFAC World Congress 50(1):5768–5773Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Konduri S, Darbha S, Pagilla PR (2019) Vehicle platooning with constant spacing strategies and multiple vehicle look ahead information (submitted) Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Shladover SE (1978) Longitudinal control of automated guideway transit vehicles within platoons. J Dyn Syst Meas Control 100(4):302–310 12Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Shladover SE (1991) Longitudinal control of automotive vehicles in close-formation platoons. J Dyn Syst Meas Control 113(2):231–241Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Han-Shue T, Rajamani R, Wei-Bin Z (1998) Demonstration of an automated highway platoon system. In: Proceedings of the 1998 American control conference. ACC (IEEE Cat. No.98CH36207), vol 3, pp 1823–1827 (1998)Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Sai Krishna Y (2005) On the information flow required for the scalability of the stability of motion of approximately rigid formation. Master’s thesis, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College StationGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Darbha S, Pagilla PR (2010) Limitations of employing undirected information flow graphs for the maintenance of rigid formations for heterogeneous vehicles. Int J Eng Sci 48(11):1164–1178. Special Issue in Honor of K.R. RajagopalGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Barooah P, Hespanha JP (2005) Error amplification and disturbance propagation in vehicle strings with decentralized linear control. In: Proceedings of the 44th IEEE conference on decision and control, pp 4964–4969Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Zheng Y, Li SE, Li K, Ren W (2018) Platooning of connected vehicles with undirected topologies: robustness analysis and distributed h-infinity controller synthesis. IEEE Trans Intell Transp Syst 19(5):1353–1364Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Tegling E, Bamieh B, Sandberg H (2019) Localized high-order consensus destabilizes large-scale networks. In: 2019 American control conference (ACC), pp 760–765Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Tegling E, Middleton RH, Seron MM (2019) Scalability and fragility in bounded-degree consensus networksGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Pipes LA (1953) An operational analysis of traffic dynamics. J Appl Phys 24(3):274–281Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Rajamani R, Shladover SE (2001) An experimental comparative study of autonomous and co-operative vehicle-follower control systems. Transp Res Part C Emerg Technol 9(1):15–31Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    Milans V, Shladover SE, Spring J, Nowakowski C, Kawazoe H, Nakamura M (2014) Cooperative adaptive cruise control in real traffic situations. IEEE Trans Intell Transp Syst 15(1):296–305Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Naus G, Vugts R, Ploeg J, Molengraft Rvd, Steinbuch M (2010) Cooperative adaptive cruise control, design and experiments. In: Proceedings of the 2010 American control conference, pp 6145–6150Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Ploeg J, Serrarens AFA, Heijenk GJ (2011) Connect and drive: design and evaluation of cooperative adaptive cruise control for congestion reduction. J Mod Transp 19(3):207–213Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Darbha S, Konduri S, Pagilla PR (2017) Effects of v2v communication on time headway for autonomous vehicles. In: 2017 American control conference (ACC), pp 2002–2007Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Darbha S, Konduri S, Pagilla PR (2019) Benefits of V2V communication for autonomous and connected vehicles. IEEE Trans Intell Transp Syst 20(5):1954–1963Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Konduri S, Pagilla P, Darbha S (2017) Vehicle platooning with multiple vehicle look-ahead information. In: Proceedings of the IFAC world congressGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    Rajamani R, Zhu C (2002) Semi-autonomous adaptive cruise control systems. IEEE Trans Veh Technol 51(5):1186–1192Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    PID stabilization of first-order systems with time delay. Birkhäuser, Boston, pp 161–190 (2005)Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Bian Y, Zheng Y, Ren W, Li SE, Wang J, Li K (2019) Reducing time headway for platooning of connected vehicles via V2V communication. Transp Res Part C Emerg Technol 102:87–105Google Scholar
  79. 79.
    Vegamoor VK, Kalathil D, Rathinam S, Darbha S (2019) Reducing time headway in homogeneous CACC vehicle platoons in the presence of packet drops. In: 2019 18th European control conference (ECC), pp 3159–3164Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    Shaw E, Hedrick JK (2007) String stability analysis for heterogeneous vehicle strings. In: 2007 American control conference, pp 3118–3125Google Scholar
  81. 81.
    Zheng Y, Li SE, Li K, Borrelli F, Hedrick JK (2017) Distributed model predictive control for heterogeneous vehicle platoons under unidirectional topologies. IEEE Trans Control Syst Technol 25(3):899–910Google Scholar
  82. 82.
    Wang C, Nijmeijer H (2015) String stable heterogeneous vehicle platoon using cooperative adaptive cruise control. In: IEEE conference on intelligent transportation systems, proceedings, ITSC, vol 2015, pp 1977–1982. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)Google Scholar
  83. 83.
    Wang M, Li H, Gao J, Huang Z, Li B, van Arem B (2017) String stability of heterogeneous platoons with non-connected automated vehicles. In: 2017 IEEE 20th international conference on intelligent transportation systems (ITSC), pp 1–8Google Scholar
  84. 84.
    Rodonyi G (2019) Heterogeneous string stability of unidirectionally interconnected mimo lti systems. Automatica 103:354–362Google Scholar
  85. 85.
    Monteil J, Russo G, Shorten R (2019) On \(L_{\infty }\) string stability of nonlinear bidirectional asymmetric heterogeneous platoon systems. Automatica 105:198–205Google Scholar
  86. 86.
    Ankem M (2019) String stability of vehicle platoons with heterogeneity in time headway. Master’s thesis, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College StationGoogle Scholar
  87. 87.
    Lighthill MJ, Whitham GB (1955) On kinematic waves II: a theory of traffic flow on long crowded roads. Proc R Soc Lond Ser A Math Phys Sci 229(1178):317–345Google Scholar
  88. 88.
    Richards PI (1956) Shock waves on the highway. Oper Res 4(1):42–51Google Scholar
  89. 89.
    Chapman S, Cowling TG (1970) The mathematical theory of non-uniform gases. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  90. 90.
    Prigogine I, Andrews FC (1960) A Boltzmann-like approach for traffic flow. Oper Res 8(6):789–797Google Scholar
  91. 91.
    Darbha S, Rajagopal KR (2002) Limit of a collection of dynamical systems: an application to modeling the flow of traffic. Math Models Methods Appl Sci 12(10):1381–1399Google Scholar
  92. 92.
    Darbha S, Choi W (2012) A methodology for assessing the benefits of coordination on the safety of vehicles. J Intell Transp Syst 16(2):70–81Google Scholar
  93. 93.
    Darbha S, Rajagopal KR (2013) A methodology to assess the safety of automatically controlled vehicles. Int J Adv Eng Sci Appl Math 5(2):87–93Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Indian Institute of Science 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vamsi K. Vegamoor
    • 1
  • Swaroop Darbha
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kumbakonam R. Rajagopal
    • 1
  1. 1.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

Personalised recommendations