AbstractAutomated platooning is gaining increasing attention because it is regarded as a highly efficient transportation mode to solve traffic congestion problem. Although different intraplatoon spacing strategies have been proposed, little research has focused on quantitative optimization of spacing policy from a safety perspective considering differences between automated and human-driven platooning. In addition, there still is a lack of comprehensive research into string stability and delay robustness of cooperative adaptive cruise control (CACC) for heterogeneous platoons. This paper proposes a quantitative spacing policy in quadratic form based on safety index optimization under hard braking scenarios. The expected value of collision severity is taken as the main index for spacing optimization. The CACC strategy then tracks the proposed spacing considering fluctuation of multitime delays and uncertainty of vehicle dynamics. Based on sliding model control theory and frequency stability criteria, the sufficient conditions satisfying CACC stability and string stability were given. The robustness of the CACC system considering communication latency fluctuation was shown using simulation results. Compared with the existing control strategy, the proposed control strategy is more robust to communication latency, and string stability can be guaranteed. The proposed spacing strategy effectively can reduce collision risk, and the proposed CACC strategy improves latency robustness on the premise of ensuring string stability.