Steering systems for future, modular road transport vehicles

In the next years, it is foreseen freight transport will continue to grow, increasing the traffic congestion, the infrastructure usage and the level of the GHG emissions. European Commission set the targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector. The new HTAS-EMS research project, which involves the academic institutes (TUE/e and HAN) and major heavy truck industry players (MAN, LAG, WABCO, DAF, D-TEC, TNO), is aiming at the identification of design of future commercial vehicle concepts for the years 2020+.

PhD Candidate: A.Prati, MSc
Supervisor: Igo Besselink
1st Promoter: prof. dr. Henk Nijmeijer
Project Financing: Agentschap NL
Project Period: April 2012 - March 2016

The vehicle length may easily exceed 25 meters, due to the new aerodynamic devices (longer cabin, boat tail) and the new standardized 45ft-container (13.7 meters long). Since the existing European road infrastructure will not be modified to host these vehicles, a trailer steering system needs to be developed in order to improve the low speed manoeuvrability and high speed stability.

Multy-body models of existing LHV have been created using the "TU/e – Commercial Vehicle Library" which allows dynamic simulation of various commercial vehicle combinations. To increase the credibility of the library, two LHV combinations (the D- and the B-combination known as Bdouble) have been tested and their models have been validated.

A new Virtual Rigid Axle Command Steering strategy (VRACS) has been developed and tested on a B-double model combination, which is a longer and heavier vehicle combinations (LHV) with very poor low speed manoeuvrability.

This strategy operates seamlessly at all speeds with the same controller using a minimal set of existing and reliable sensors, such as vehicle speed and articulation angle.

The project focuses on analysing and improving the dynamic behaviour of LHV’s, developing new steering strategies and controls for trailers in order to make the future combinations more manoeuvrable at low speed (e.g at roundabouts) and stable at high speed.