Cooperative adaptive cruise control (CACC) is a promising technology to improve traffic efficiency and enhance road safety. In this paper, a modified CACC control model considering the communication time delay is proposed, which is used to investigate the longitudinal safety impacts of the communication time delay to the CACC platoon. Then, the communication time delay model is integrated into the CACC model to simulate the realistic information transfer process in the CACC platoon. Then a microscopic CACC platoon simulation is designed and conducted to verify the feasibility and reliability of the modified CACC control algorithm. The obtained results reveal that the modified CACC control algorithm can not only reduce about 96.6% of inter-vehicle spacing error, but also enhance the vehicles’ ability to sense the upstream traffic changes. Furthermore, to quantitatively analyze the longitudinal safety influence of the time delay caused by representative communication systems, sensitivity analysis experiments of headway time were designed and conducted. In the sensitivity analysis, the time exposed time-to-collision (TET) and the time-integrated time-to-collision (TIT) were introduced as the key performance indicators (KPIs) to quantify the rear-end collision risks. Sensitivity analysis results demonstrate that the performance of the CACC platoon is strictly related to the applied wireless communication style. Furthermore, the CACC system supported by the 5th generation (5G) communication system shows great advantages in narrowing the minimal headway time gap and reducing the rear-end collision risks.
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