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Technical Paper

Adaptation of TruckSim Models to Simulate Experimental Heavy Truck Hard Braking Test Data Under Various Levels of Brake Disablement

This research focuses on the development and performance of analytical models to simulate a tractor-semitrailer in straight-ahead braking. The simulations were modified and tuned to simulate full-treadle braking with all brakes functioning correctly, as well as the behavior of the tractor-semitrailer rig under full braking with selected brakes disabled. The models were constructed in TruckSim and based on a tractor-semitrailer used in dry braking performance testing. The full-scale vehicle braking research was designed to define limits for engineering estimates on stopping distance when Class 8 air-braked vehicles experience partial degradation of the foundation brake system. In the full scale testing, stops were conducted from 30 mph and 60 mph, with the combination loaded to 80,000 lbs (gross combined weight or GCW), half payload, and with the tractor-semitrailer unladen (lightly loaded vehicle weight, or LLVW).
Technical Paper

Validation and Enhancement of a Heavy Truck Simulation Model with an Electronic Stability Control Model

Validation was performed on an existing heavy truck vehicle dynamics computer model with roll stability control (RSC). The first stage in this validation was to compare the response of the simulated tractor to that of the experimental tractor. By looking at the steady-state gains of the tractor, adjustments were made to the model to more closely match the experimental results. These adjustments included suspension and steering compliances, as well as auxiliary roll moment modifications. Once the validation of the truck tractor was completed for the current configuration, the existing 53-foot box trailer model was added to the vehicle model. The next stage in experimental validation for the current tractor-trailer model was to incorporate suspension compliances and modify the auxiliary roll stiffness to more closely model the experimental response of the vehicle. The final validation stage was to implement some minor modifications to the existing RSC model.
Journal Article

Integration of a Torsional Stiffness Model into an Existing Heavy Truck Vehicle Dynamics Model

Torsional stiffness properties were developed for both a 53-foot box trailer and a 28-foot flatbed control trailer based on experimental measurements. In order to study the effect of torsional stiffness on the dynamics of a heavy truck vehicle dynamics computer model, static maneuvers were conducted comparing different torsional stiffness values to the original rigid vehicle model. Stiffness properties were first developed for a truck tractor model. It was found that the incorporation of a torsional stiffness model had only a minor effect on the overall tractor response for steady-state maneuvers up to 0.4 g lateral acceleration. The effect of torsional stiffness was also studied for the trailer portion of the existing model.
Technical Paper

Simulation Results from a Model of a Tractor Trailer Vehicle Equipped with Roll Stability Control

In 2007, a software model of a Roll Stability Control (RSC) system was developed based on test data for a Volvo tractor at NHTSA's Vehicle Research and Test Center (VRTC). This model was designed to simulate the RSC performance of a commercially available Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system. The RSC model was developed in Simulink and integrated with the available braking model (TruckSim) for the truck. The Simulink models were run in parallel with the vehicle dynamics model of a truck in TruckSim. The complete vehicle model including the RSC system model is used to simulate the behavior of the actual truck and determine the capability of the RSC system in preventing rollovers under different conditions. Several simulations were performed to study the behavior of the model developed and to compare its performance with that of an actual test vehicle equipped with RSC.
Journal Article

Comparison of Heavy Truck Engine Control Unit Hard Stop Data with Higher-Resolution On-Vehicle Data

Engine control units (ECUs) on heavy trucks have been capable of storing “last stop” or “hard stop” data for some years. These data provide useful information to accident reconstruction personnel. In past studies, these data have been analyzed and compared to higher-resolution on-vehicle data for several heavy trucks and several makes of passenger cars. Previous published studies have been quite helpful in understanding the limitations and/or anomalies associated with these data. This study was designed and executed to add to the technical understanding of heavy truck event data recorders (EDR), specifically data associated with a modern Cummins power plant ECU. Emergency “full-treadle” stops were performed at many combinations of load-speed-surface coefficient conditions. In addition, brake-in-curve tests were performed on wet Jennite for various conditions of disablement of the braking system.
Technical Paper

Pole Impact Speeds Derived from Bilinear Estimations of Maximum Crush for Body-On-Frame Constructed Vehicles

Accident reconstructionists use several different approaches to determine vehicle equivalent impact speed from damage due to narrow object impacts. One method that is used relates maximum crush to equivalent impact speed with a bilinear curve. In the past, this model has been applied to several passenger cars with unibody construction. In this paper, the approach is applied to a body-on-frame vehicle. Several vehicle-to-rigid pole impact tests have been conducted on a full-size pickup at different speeds and impact locations: centrally located across the vehicle's front and outside the frame rail. A bilinear model relating vehicle equivalent impact speed to maximum crush is developed for the impact locations. These results are then compared to results obtained from other body-on-frame vehicles as well as unibody vehicles. Other tests such as impacts on the frame rail and barrier impacts are also presented. Limitations to this bilinear approach are discussed.
Technical Paper

Automated Steering Controller for Vehicle Testing

Automating road vehicle control can increase the range and reliability of dynamic testing. Some tests, for instance, specify precise steering inputs which human test drivers are only able to approximate, adding uncertainty to the test results. An automated steering system has been developed which is capable of removing these limitations. This system enables any production car or light truck to follow a user-defined path, using global position feedback, or to perform specific steering sequences with excellent repeatability. The system adapts itself to a given vehicle s handling characteristics, and it can be installed and uninstalled quickly without damage or permanent modification to the vehicle.
Technical Paper

The Measurement of Static Rollover Metrics

This paper describes and compares three methods of estimating the static rollover threshold of passenger cars and light trucks. The Static Stability Factor (SSF), Side Pull Ratio (SPR), and Tilt Table Ratio (TTR) “metrics” are described and methods of measuring each are presented. The comparison of the three metrics is limited to the accuracy, repeatability, and ease of the measurements, and does not attempt to compare their ability to predict real world rollover accident involvement. The results of the comparison have shown that the three metrics are very closely related. Based on this, the rollover accident predictive power of each metric is expected to be similar. However, the ease and accuracy of the TTR measurement make it the most useful of the three. DURING THE 1980's, the use of light trucks and multi-purpose vehicles for basic transportation increased considerably. By 1990, domestic full-size pickup trucks were regularly among the top five passenger vehicles sold.
Technical Paper

Self-Tuning Optimal Control of an Active Suspension

The objective of this paper is to develop a self-tuning optimal control of an active suspension. An active suspension composed of an identifier and a controller is proposed in this paper. Although control strategies on active (or semi-active) suspensions have been investigated during the past few decades, some problems are not well understood yet. One of them arising from the ride control of an active suspension is that when the weight and the moments of inertia of the sprung mass are varied, the feedback gains of the controller should vary with the variation of parameters accordingly. Therefore, the identifier is proposed before the controller is designed. In the real situations, the parameter variation may occur when loadings on vehicles vary - either from passengers or payloads, especially, in the case of loading on a truck. An identification structure using parallel model reference adaptive system (MRAS) is proposed to identify the true parameters.
Technical Paper

A Validation Study of Vehicle Dynamics Simulations for Heavy Truck Handling Maneuvers

This paper deals with the ongoing efforts at The Vehicle Research and Test Center (VRTC) in East Liberty, Ohio in promoting the safe operation of heavy trucks. The associated research evaluated two vehicle dynamics simulations for their accuracy in predicting tractor-trailer handling metrics. The goals of the research were threefold: 1. Establish a generic “benchmark” parametric data set for the three-axle truck/two-axle trailer vehicle 2. Demonstrate the accuracy of experimental data that was collected for the tractor-trailer vehicle of this study 3. Demonstrate the accuracy of two vehicle simulations by comparing their predicted responses to experimentally observed vehicle responses and metrics.
Technical Paper

Vehicle Characterization Through Pole Impact Testing, Part II: Analysis of Center and Offset Center Impacts

The severity of an impact in terms of the acceleration in the occupant compartment is dependent not only on the change in vehicle velocity, but also the time for the change in velocity to occur. These depend on the geometry and stiffness of both the striking vehicle and struck object. In narrow-object frontal impacts, impact location can affect the shape and duration of the acceleration pulse that reaches the occupant compartment. In this paper, the frontal impact response of a full-sized pickup to 10 mile per hour and 20 mile per hour pole impacts at the centerline and at a location nearer the frame rails is compared using the acceleration pulse shape, the average acceleration in the occupant compartment, and the residual crush. A bilinear curve relating impact speed to residual crush is developed.
Technical Paper

Integration of an Adaptive Control Strategy on an Automated Steering Controller

This paper describes an adaptive control strategy for improving the steering response of an automated vehicle steering controller. In order to achieve repeatable dynamic test results, precise steering inputs are necessary. This strategy provides the controller tuning parameters optimized for a particular vehicle's steering system. Having the capability to adaptively tune the steering controller for any vehicle installation provides an easy method for obtaining precise steering inputs for a wide range of vehicles, from small off-road utility vehicles to passenger vehicles to heavy trucks. The S.E.A. Ltd. Automated Steering Controller (ASC) is used exclusively in conducting this research. By recording the torque input to the steering system by the steering controller and the resulting steering angle during only a single test, the ASC is able to characterize the steering system of the test vehicle and create a computer model with appropriate parameters.
Technical Paper

Refinements of a Heavy Truck ABS Model

In 2004, a model of a 6s6m ABS controller was developed in order to support NHTSA's efforts in the study of heavy truck braking performance. This model was developed using Simulink and interfaced with TruckSim, a vehicle dynamics software package, in order to create an accurate braking simulation of a 6×4 Peterbilt straight truck. For this study, the vehicle model braking dynamics were improved and the ABS controller model was refined. Also, the controller was made adaptable to ABS configurations other than 6s6m, such as 4s4m and 4s3m. Controller models were finally validated to experimental data from the Peterbilt truck, gathered at NHTSA's Vehicle Research and Test Center (VRTC).
Journal Article

Development of a Roll Stability Control Model for a Tractor Trailer Vehicle

Heavy trucks are involved in many accidents every year and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is viewed as a means to help mitigate this problem. ESC systems are designed to reduce the incidence of single vehicle loss of control, which might lead to rollover or jackknife. As the working details and control strategies of commercially available ESC systems are proprietary, a generic model of an ESC system that mimics the basic logical functionality of commercial systems was developed. This paper deals with the study of the working of a commercial ESC system equipped on an actual tractor trailer vehicle. The particular ESC system found on the test vehicle contained both roll stability control (RSC) and yaw stability control (YSC) features. This work focused on the development of a reliable RSC software model, and the integration of it into a full vehicle simulation (TruckSim) of a heavy truck.
Journal Article

Design and Operation of a Brake and Throttle Robot

This paper describes the design and implementation of the SEA, Ltd. Brake and Throttle Robot (BTR). Presented are the criteria used in the initial design and the development and testing of the BTR, as well as some test results achieved with the device. The BTR is designed for use in automobiles and light trucks. It is based on a servomotor driven ballscrew, which in turn operates either the brake or accelerator. It is easily portable from one vehicle to another and compact enough to fit even smaller vehicles. The BTR is light enough so as to have minimal effect on the measurement of vehicle parameters. The BTR is designed for use as a stand-alone unit or as part of a larger control system such as the Automated Test Driver (ATD) yet allows for the use of a test driver for safety, as well as test selection, initiation, and monitoring. Installation in a vehicle will be described, as well as electronic components that support the BTR.
Journal Article

The Influence of Disablement of Various Brakes on the Dry Stopping Performance and Stability of a Tractor-Semitrailer

This research was performed using a designed experiment to evaluate the loss of dry surface braking performance and stability that could be associated with the disablement of specific brake positions on a tractor-semitrailer. The experiment was intended to supplement and update previous research by Heusser, Radlinski, Flick, and others. It also sought to establish reasonable limits for engineering estimates on stopping performance degradation attributable to partial or complete brake failure of individual S-cam air brakes on a class 8 truck. Stopping tests were conducted from 30 mph and 60 mph, with the combination loaded to GCW (80,000 lb.), half-payload, and with the flatbed semitrailer unladen. Both tractor and semitrailer were equipped with antilock brakes. Along with stopping distance, brake pressures, longitudinal acceleration, road wheel speed, and steering wheel position and effort were also recorded.
Journal Article

Semitrailer Torsional Stiffness Data for Improved Modeling Fidelity

Vehicle dynamics models employed in heavy truck simulation often treat the semitrailer as a torsionally rigid member, assuming zero deflection along its longitudinal axis as a moment is applied to its frame. Experimental testing, however, reveals that semitrailers do twist, sometimes enough to precipitate rollover when a rigid trailer may have remained upright. Improving the model by incorporating realistic trailer roll stiffness values can improve assessment of heavy truck dynamics, as well as an increased understanding of the effectiveness of stability control systems in limit handling maneuvers. Torsional stiffness measurements were conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for eight semitrailers of different types, including different length box vans, traditional and spread axle flat beds, and a tanker.
Technical Paper

Effects of ABS Controller Parameters on Heavy Truck Model Braking Performance

This paper covers research conducted at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Vehicle Research and Test Center (VRTC) examining the performance of semitrailer anti-lock braking systems (ABS). For this study, a vehicle dynamics model was constructed for the combination of a 4×2 tractor and a 48-foot trailer, using TruckSim. ABS models for the tractor and trailer, as well as brake dynamics and surface friction models, were created in Simulink so that the effect of varying ABS controller parameters and configurations on semitrailer braking performance could be studied under extreme braking maneuvers. The longitudinal and lateral performances of this tractor-trailer model were examined for a variety of different trailer ABS controller models, including the 2s1m, 4s2m, and 4s4m configurations. Also, alternative controllers of the same configuration were studied by varying the parameters of the 2s1m controller.
Technical Paper

Advancements in Tire Modeling Through Implementation of Load and Speed Dependent Coefficients

An existing tire model was investigated for additional normal load-dependent characteristics to improve the large truck simulations developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS). Of the existing tire model coefficients, plysteer, lateral friction decay, aligning torque stiffness and normalized longitudinal stiffness were investigated. The findings of the investigation led to improvements in the tire model. The improved model was then applied to TruckSim to compare with the TruckSim table lookup tire model and test data. Additionally, speed-dependent properties for the NADS tire model were investigated (using data from a light truck tire).
Technical Paper

Vehicle and Occupant Response in Heavy Truck to Car Low-Speed Rear Impacts

Despite efforts by industry to reduce the problem of injury in rear impacts, there continues to be a large number of such claims. This is true even in low speed impacts which result in little or no damage to the vehicles involved. Recent studies of such incidents have been described in the literature. These studies have concentrated primarily on simple bumper to bumper impacts where the front bumper of the striking vehicle contacts the rear bumper of the struck vehicle. Perhaps a more common type of rear impact is one in which the bumper of the striking vehicle rides over or under the rear bumper of the struck vehicle. The heavy truck to car rear impact is an example of an overriding impact. This paper describes several staged impacts of this type in which vehicle and occupant responses were measured using fully instrumented Hybrid III dummies or human volunteers.