Impact of Autonomous Freight Delivery on Trucking Operations

Connected truck operations bring exciting opportunities on energy savings by forming platoons. While truck platooning is beneficial on corridor analyses, real-life implementation of platooning depends on many factors such as additional investment needed for connected infrastructure, addressing first- and last-mile delivery issues, adverse weather and traffic conditions, and pavement durability capable of sustaining increased truck traffic. To quantify the impact of these uncertainties, a virtual case analysis is crucial. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to develop a case study and compare the operation costs and benefits of connected freight to traditional trucking for actual origin-destination pairs in Illinois’ Road network that span from a populated area in Chicago to a rural part in central Illinois. The state of Illinois has a road network that is suitable for platoons. An insight regarding the impact of platoon compared to normal truck traffic will be investigated. As a result of the case study, recommendations will be outlined for efficient platoon operation. The following four tasks are identified: (1) Determine the feasibility and efficiency of using drones for first- and last-mile delivery compared to land operation. An efficient algorithm for planning drone routes to pick up and deliver freight to/from trucks and ground-based depots will be developed. (2) Develop real-time optimization to identify optimum platooning scheme based on uncertainties such as traffic level, weather, and number of platoon trucks. (3) Quantify pavement damage caused by regular truck traffic and truck platoons at multiple penetration levels. (4) Determine the costs and benefits of using additional infrastructure equipment necessary for platooning such as connected devices or embedded passive sensing material for controlling lateral positions of connected trucks.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $464120
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590

      U.S. Department of Transportation

      1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Center for Connected and Automated Transportation

      University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute
      Ann Arbor, MI  United States  48109
    • Project Managers:

      Tucker-Thomas, Dawn

      Bezzina, Debra

    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

      Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
      Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory
      Urbana, IL  United States  61801-2352
    • Principal Investigators:

      Al-Qadi, Imad

    • Start Date: 20220401
    • Expected Completion Date: 20230331
    • Actual Completion Date: 20240102
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers
    • Subprogram: Research

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01845181
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Center for Connected and Automated Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747105
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: May 12 2022 1:34PM