Safe-D: Safety through Disruption

Implications of Truck Platoons for Roadside and Vehicle Safety Hardware


Platooning is an extension of cooperative adaptive cruise control and forward collision avoidance technology, which provides automated lateral and longitudinal vehicle control to maintain short following distances and tight formation. The capacity and adequacy of existing roadside safety hardware deployed at strategic locations may not be sufficient to resist potential impact from an errant fleet of multiple trucks platooning at high speed. It is unknown how these impacting trucks might interact with roadside safety barriers after leaving their platoon and what the occupant risks associated with such impacts may be. This research identifies and prioritizes the critical Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware TL5 roadside safety devices for truck platooning impact assessment in order to understand the associated roadside and occupant risks and hazards. Finite element models of the trucks and roadside safety devices are examined using multiple computer simulations for various scenarios. Occupants injury risks during truck collision simulations are assessed using dummy and human finite element models. The results and implications can provide a better understanding of whether any roadside safety device improvements and/or platooning constraint modifications will be necessary before implementing truck platooning.

Project Highlights

  • Investigated the capability of certain types of existing roadside safety devices to adequately withstand a potential impact from an errant truck platoon.
  • Offered a preliminary investigation of the interaction of the impacting trucks with the roadside safety devices and the risks they impose on the occupants.

Final Report

01-006 Final Research Report

EWD & T2 Products

01-006 Impact Statement: Three students were funded under this project [Roshan Sharma (Master’s student at TAMU), Hanxiang Jin (Ph.D. Student at VT), Yunzhu Meng, (Ph.D. Candidate at VT)]. This file contains a statement of the impact this project made on this student’s education and workforce development.


Jin, H., Sharma, R., Meng, Y., Untaroiu, A., Silvestri Dobrovolny, C., Untaroiu, C. (2018, June) Evaluation of the injury risks of truck occupants involved in a crash as a result of errant truck platoons. 15th International LS-Dyna Conference, Dearborn, MI. (Published)

Jin, H., Sharma, R., Untaroiu A., Silvestri Dobrovolny, C., Untaroiu, C.D. (2018) Evaluation of the injury risks of truck occupants involved in a crash as a result of errant truck platoons, IRCOBI Conference, Athens, Greece (Published)

Jin, H., Sharma, R., Untaroiu A., Doerzaph, Z., Silvestri Dobrovolny, C., Meng, Y., Untaroiu, C.D. (2019) Evaluation of the injury risks of truck occupants involved in a crash as a result of errant truck platoons, Accident Analysis & Prevention (Elsevier). (Under Review)

Final Dataset

The final datasets for this project are located in the Safe-D Collection on the VTTI Dataverse; DOI: 10.15787/VTT1/D9UA9N.

Research Investigators (PI*)

Chiara Silvestri Dobrovolny (TTI/TAMU)*
Costin Unitariou (VT)*
Roshan Sharma (TTI/TAMU)
Yunzhu Meng (VT)

Project Information

Start Date: 2017-01-01
End Date: 2018-10-15
Status: Completed
Grant Number: 69A3551747115
Total Funding: $301,597
Source Organization: Safe-D National UTC
Project Number: 01-006

Safe-D Theme Areas

Automated Vehicles
Connected Vehicles

Safe-D Application Areas

Infrastructure Technology
Planning for Safety
Operations and Design
Vehicle Technology
Freight and Heavy Vehicle

More Information

UTC Project Information Form

Sponsor Organization

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology
University Transportation Centers Program
Department of Transportation
Washington, DC 20590 United States

Performing Organization

Texas A&M University
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
3135 TAMU
College Station, Texas 77843-3135

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
3500 Transportation Research Plaza
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061