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Journal Article

Bifurcation Analysis of a Car Model Running on an Even Surface - A Fundamental Study for Addressing Automomous Vehicle Dynamics

The paper deals with the bifurcation analysis of a simple mathematical model describing an automobile running on an even surface. Bifurcation analysis is adopted as the proper procedure for an in-depth understanding of the stability of steady-state motion of cars (either cornering or running straight ahead). The aim of the paper is providing the fundamental information for inspiring further studies on vehicle dynamics with or without a human driver. The considered mechanical model of the car has two degrees of freedom, nonlinear tire characteristics are included. A simple driver model is introduced. Experimental validations of the model are produced. As a first step, bifurcation analysis is performed without driver (fixed control). Ten different combinations of front and rear tire characteristics (featuring understeer or oversteer automobiles) are considered. Steering angle and speed are varied. Many different dynamical behaviors of the model are found.
Technical Paper

Subjective-Objective Ride Comfort Assessment of Farm Tractors

The paper is focused on both the subjective and the objective ride comfort evaluation of farm tractors. The experimental measurement of the relevant accelerations occurring at the tractor body, at the cabin and at the seat was performed on a number of different farm tractors. A subjective rating of the ride comfort level was performed by considering five different drivers. The comfort index was computed according with ISO 2631 and other standards. The acceleration of the seated subject was computed by means of a proper mechanical model of a farm tractor and derived at different positions on the subject body. It turned out that the acceleration of the lower torso was particularly relevant for establishing a matching between the subjective perception and the objective measurement and computation. A number of indices have been derived from the measured data which are able to correlate the subjective driver feeling with the measured accelerations.
Technical Paper

Lightweight Seat Design and Crash Simulations

The lightweight seat of a high performance car is designed taking into account a rear impact, i.e. the crash due to an impulse applied from the rear. The basic parameters of the seat structure are derived resorting to simulations of a crash with a test dummy positioned on the seat. The simulations provide the forces acting at the seat structure, in particular the forces applied at the joint between the seat cushion and the seat backrest are taken into account. Such a joint is simulated as a plastic hinge and dissipates some of the crash energy. The simulations are validated by means of indoor tests with satisfactory results. A tool has been developed for the preliminary design of lightweight seats for high performance cars.
Journal Article

Race Motorcycle Smart Wheel

A wheel able to measure the generalized forces at the hub of a race motorcycle has been developed and used. The wheel has a very limited mass. It is made from magnesium with a special structure to sense the forces and provide the required level of stiffness. The wheel has been tested both indoor for preliminary approval and on the track. The three forces and the three moments acting at the hub can be measured with a resolution of 1N and 0.3Nm respectively. A specifically programmed DSP (Digital Signal Processor) embedded in the sensor allows real-time acquisition and processing of the six signals of forces/torques components. The signals are sent via Bluetooth to an onboard receiver connected to the vehicle CAN (Controller Area Network) bus. Each signal is sampled at 200Hz. The wheel can be used to derive the actual tyre characteristics or to record the loads acting at the hub.
Technical Paper

A New Electric Powertrain for Light Trucks: Indoor Testing and Advanced Simulation

A new electric powertrain and axle for light/medium trucks is presented. The indoor testing and the simulation of the dynamic behavior are performed. The powertrain and axle has been produced by Streparava and tested at the Laboratory for the Safety of Transport of the Politecnico di Milano. The tests were aimed at defining the multi-physics perfomance of the powertrain and axle (efficiency, acceleration and braking, temperature and NVH). The whole system for indoor tests was composed by the powertrain and axle (electric motor, driveline, suspensions, wheels) and by the test rig (drums, driveline and electric motor). The (driving) axle was positioned on a couple of drums, and the drums provided the proper torques to the wheels to reproduce acceleration and braking. Additionally a cleat fixed on one drum excited the vibration of the suspensions and allowed assessing NVH performance. The simulations were based on a special co-simulation between 1D-AMESIM and VIRTUAL.LAB.
Journal Article

Friction Estimation at Tire-Ground Contact

The friction estimation at the tire-ground contact is crucial for the active safety of vehicles. Friction estimation is a key problem of vehicle dynamics and the ultimate solution is still unknown. However the proposed approach, based on a simple idea and on a simple hardware, provides an actual solution. The idea is to compare the tire characteristic at a given friction (nominal characteristic) with the actual characteristic that the tire has while running. The comparison among these two characteristics (the nominal one and the actual one) gives the desired friction coefficient. The friction coefficient is expressed in vector form and a number of running parameters are identified. The mentioned comparison is an efficient but complex algorithm based on a mathematical formulation of the tire characteristic. The actual tire characteristic is somehow measured in real time by a relatively simple smart wheel which is able to detect the three forces and the three moments acting at the hub.