In this paper, model predictive control (MPC) is used to compute the spacing-control laws for transitional maneuvers (TMs) of vehicles equipped with adaptive cruise control (ACC) systems. A TM is required, for example, to establish a steady-state following distance behind a newly encountered vehicle traveling with a slower velocity. These spacing-control laws are computed by formulating the objective of a TM as an optimal control problem (OCP). The steady-state following distance, collision avoidance, and acceleration limits of the ACC vehicle are incorporated into the OCP as constraints. The spacing-control laws are then obtained by solving this constrained OCP by using a receding-horizon approach, where the acceleration command computed at each sampling instant is a function of the current measurements of range and range rate. A baseline scenario requiring a TM is used to evaluate and compare the performance of the MPC algorithm and the standard constant time gap (CTG) algorithm. The simulation results show that the ACC vehicle is able to perform the TM of the baseline scenario using the MPC spacing-control laws, whereas the ACC vehicle is unable to perform this TM using the CTG spacing-control laws. The success of the MPC spacing-control laws is shown to depend on whether collision avoidance and the acceleration limits of the ACC vehicle are explicitltv incorporated into the formulation of the control algorithm.
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Manuscript received December 16, 2003; revised April 12, 2004 and May 21, 2004. This work was supported by NASA under Grant NGT5-40086 and by the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.