High-Speed Vehicle Operations on Gravel Surfaces 2010-01-0640
Synthetic Automotive Virtual Environment (SAVE) is a research program to develop useful descriptions of high-speed, loose-surface ground vehicle interface dynamics and to apply those findings to synthetic training environments, autonomous vehicle development, active safety systems development, and to the construction of safer roads. Live training for accident avoidance through vehicle control is problematic due to the dangers of having unskilled drivers in critical situations. Furthermore, for a driver to perform the critical skills well in an unexpected driving situation requires that their response become automatic through muscle memory development. A simulator environment removes the student from the potentially dangerous consequences of these situations and allows for repetitive training to develop muscle memory. True vehicle control skills are not usually taught except to high performance drivers (racers, special operations personnel, police) even though these skills could save lives. Our vision is to build a vehicle simulator to effectively teach vehicle control techniques and save as many lives as possible.
To develop a vehicle control simulator for use in high-speed operations on unpaved surfaces several test and analysis programs were carried out during the winter, spring and summer of 2009. These testing programs included high-speed maneuvers of stock vehicles instrumented to record the vehicle dynamics (yaw, pitch, roll and accelerations), driver inputs (steering, throttle and brake), as well as additional measurements on suspension travel and applicable channels from the vehicle CAN bus. A specialized instrumented vehicle with load cells measuring the tire-terrain interface forces on each wheel, as well as the above instrumentation, was used for research experiments to quantify the specifics of weight transfer used for vehicle control needed for simulation algorithms. Experienced Rally drivers were used to capture the unique methods for vehicle control during high-speed maneuvers on gravel test courses.