Handling Characteristics of the General Motors Experimental Safety Vehicle 730079
The Experimental Safety Vehicle (ESV) program at General Motors was a study in meeting the U.S. Department of Transportation performance requirements under Contract DOT-OS-00095. The ESV chassis was designed to meet or exceed the eleven contract specifications relating to accident avoidance, commensurate with subjectively good handling. This paper describes the use of a typical design process employing existing technology to achieve these goals.
A linear vehicle directional control simulation was used to determine design direction. A tire analysis program was the basis for reference tire characteristics emphasizing force and moment performance. A preliminary suspension design layout was prepared and a pretest car was constructed. Development of this vehicle using various supplier tire submittals generated suspension information for the final design. An acceptable tire construction was selected from various tire supplier submittals and specified for the prototype vehicles. The suspension, steering, and level control systems are described. Tests on a fully instrumented prototype indicated compliance with all specifications except low-speed (25 mph) returnability. In actual driving, however, the returnability at all speeds was subjectively rated acceptable. Test methods and results are included.