Lane Change/Merge Fundamental Research

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Contact details Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center, FHWA, US DOT

Timing and duration of tests

The team first developed a conceptual framework for lane change and merge maneuvers using automated operation, V2V, and I2V communications. They then demonstrated a connnected, automated lane change and merge manuver using 3 vehicles on a closed course.

Location(s) of tests

Closed driver training range at Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Cheltenham, Maryland, USA.

Tested automation

Tested functionalities

Demonstration of a lane change and merge maneuver

Level of automation tested

Level 1 longitudinal control in a merge maneuver. The merging vehicle manually steers into the adjacent lane.

Tested use cases

A lane change maneuver, in which vehicles used automated speed control, V2V communications, and vehicle-based radar systems, was successfully demonstrated on a close course with three vehicles.

Tested transport system

Automobiles, outfitted with longitudinal control, DSRC communications (Basic Safety Message plus turn signal and radar data), and radar

Purposes of testing
  • Technical assessment, proof of concept (incl. vehicle, background support systems such as communication)


Definition of baseline


Test design

Demonstration of feasibility.

Method of testing

Simulation, Test track

Test fleet, participants and environment

Number and make of vehicles

Five 2013 Cadillac SRXs. Three vehicles used in this test.

Description and number of participants/drivers

Three drivers: a manually driven lead vehicle, plus following and merge vehicles with automated longitudinal control.

Tested environment and facilities

A closed course over a distance of approximately 700 feet (200 m). Speed was approximately 25 mph (40 kph)

Legal and ethical aspects


Duration of testing

Demonstration on a short test track. Many runs were completed, and results are based on data collected from 8 runs.

Input parameters and assumptions of simulation tests

Three algorithms were tested in a simulation model, prior to the field test. Chosen algorithm was modelled in MATLAB/Simulink, with input conditions as follows: - 15 m distance between vehicles - 10 m/s initial velocity - 2 m safety distance between vehicles - 0.7s time headway - -4 to +2 m/s2 acceleration range


  • Communication data (V2V, V2I, V2U, etc.)
  • GPS
  • Sensor data
  • System internal data
Specifications for the data sources
  • Communication data (V2V, V2I, V2U, etc.), specify: V2V basic safety message, plus turn signal status information
  • System internal data, specify: vehicle dynamics (position, speed and acceleration)
  • Sensor data, specify: radar
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Position, speed and acceleration of the three vehicles over time, collected at 20 Hz

Situational data available

Subjective data collected

Comfort of vehicle occupants


Issues that affected the impact assessment


A lane change maneuver to merge into a CACC platoon was successfully demonstrated by 3 vehicles on a closed course. The selected algorithm for this maneuver was able to maintain a gap control error within 2 m with minimal speed oscillations or passenger discomfort


Report to be published in 2016

Other things to report

USDOT FHWA Contract number DTFH61-12-D-00020. Project summary at

Method of testingSimulation + and Test track +
Purpose of testingTechnical assessment, proof of concept (incl. vehicle, background support systems such as communication) +